Thursday, July 24, 2008

The 97th Assembly District Exposed

It is really nice to be able to get the campaign finance reports online from the state's website. Doing this allows the public full disclosure of the truth of a candidate's ability to fundraise and who is funding the campaign. On Tuesday, the Freeman ran and article regarding the cash on hand of each candidate, at least according to what each candidate reported. After repeatedly checking on the status of the reports, I can now give my biased opinion on the race. (I doubt there are any truly undecided voters in the 97th.)

Here are the links to each candidates financial statements. Be sure to click on the tabs at the bottom. Each tab has a different purpose and each donor or committee that donated is listed by name.

Here is Ruth Page Jones' financial statement. Her donors consist of family, teachers, Project ABC/WAES (Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools--the group that wants to increase school funding by like $3 billion). I have a very large concern though regarding two of the committee donors listed. More on that later. In the Freeman earlier in the week, she stated she raised about $30K to date. However, $15K of that total, she personlly loaned to her campaign. If the loan is taken into consideration, she has raised $15 K to date.

Here is Bill Kramer's financial statement. His contributors consist of the usual Republican suspects and committees. He has raised $24 K so far on top of the $14 K he started with. (He does have $18K loan obligation from his last run two years ago.) It certainly appears that he has outraised Ruth Page Jones by $9 K so far. However, the fact that he is a challenged incumbant also means that he should have an easier time raising money.

Here is Steve Schmuki's financial statement. He has raised $11 K so far (with next to nothing as a carryover from his campaign two years ago). His contributors are lawyers, neighbors, and supporters. He also has no loans.

Now to my anaylsis for what it is worth. Kramer and the Republican Party cannot take this as a sign that all is well and this will be a cake walk. Burried in the details of Ruth Page Jones' contributors are AFT-the American Federation of Teachers and the Progressive Majority of Wisconsin which should ring bells for all of us. Remember once upon a time, when former State Assembly person Ann Nischke (R) ran for mayor against the school teacher that no one seemed to know about and everyone though Nischke was a shoe in? She raised plenty of money and still got beat by Larry Nelson who had the help of the teachers (unions) and of Progressive Majority of Wisconsin. When a candidate has a large workforce willing to put in the time canvassing a district, they don't need the money 'in the bank'. Also, this is pre-primary for Ruth Page Jones. Most of the money needed for this kind of race will come in after the primary. I did notice Democratic Party donors were missing as well as many of the PACs one would expect to see. These are the donors that will surface after the primary.

P.S. On a brighter note, it doesn't look like Ruth Page Jones' fundraising has expanded beyond the usual suspects.