When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker beat back the recall attempt against him by Democrat Tom Barrett on Tuesday, he did it with money raised mostly from outside his own state.
A quick look at the two campaigns reveals two different worlds of political fundraising. On the right, Walker easily out-raised Barrett, pulling in roughly eight times what the Democrat Barrett could muster. Of the $30.5 million Walker's campaign raised, 66 percent was donated by conservative interests outside of Wisconsin. On the left, Barrett couldn't compete in the money race, but of the $3.9 million he raised, 74 percent of it was from Wisconsinites. Barrett had hoped that the get-out-the-vote efforts of unions and the state Democratic party would help him prevail despite his money woes. But as MSNBC's Ed Schultz noted, the results were not surprising "given the money."
Walker was greatly buoyed by the Republican Governors Association and various Tea Party and conservative groups who helped Walker run $12.3 million in ads since November 1. As CNN reported, this was more than twice what Barrett and his union and Democratic allies spent on ads. The record amounts of money from outside sources are a precursor to the general election, which is projected to shatter presidential campaign spending records.
The Wisconsin results, Schultz says, "sends a clear message on what Democrats are going to be up against in November, and what kind of ground game is needed to fight the special interest money."