Fake Democrats raise little campaign cash for recalls

Inside the State Capitol in Madison. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Fake Democrats raise little campaign cash for recalls

By the Associated Press. CREATED Jul 7, 2011

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Fake Democratic candidates running in recall elections in order to give Republican incumbents more time to campaign have raised almost no money for the effort, reports filed with the state showed Wednesday.

The candidates, prompted by the state Republican Party, ran simply to force a primary and thereby delay the general election by a month in hopes of benefiting GOP incumbents more time to campaign.

Six Democratic primary elections are scheduled for Tuesday, with the winners facing the targeted Republican incumbents Aug. 9.

Five of the six fake Democrats whose reports were available Wednesday raised just $4,200 -- with nearly all the money coming from the Republican Party to help pay for copies and postage related to them filing as candidates.

A report for the sixth fake Democrat, James Smith of La Crosse, was not posted on the Government Accountability Board website by midday Wednesday. Smith said he mailed the report and had done no fundraising, other than accepting $750 from the Republican Party.

While the protest candidates lie low, the legitimate Republicans and Democrats are raising tons of cash.

The six Democratic candidates combined have raised more than $1.5 million and had nearly $1 million cash on hand. The Republican incumbents collectively raised about $2.4 million and had about $893,000 cash on hand.

Four of the Republican incumbents raised more than their Democratic challengers, but two had less cash on hand entering the final weeks of the campaign.

The reports submitted Tuesday to the Government Accountability Board show incumbent Sens. Rob Cowles of Green Bay and Luther Olsen of Ripon face the biggest financial challenges.

In the 10th District, Olsen raised $107,000, compared with $227,000 for Democratic challenger state Rep. Fred Clark of Baraboo. Clark had $163,000 cash on hand, compared with just $71,000 for Olsen.

In the 2nd District, Cowles raised $101,000, compared with $177,000 for Democratic opponent Nancy Nusbaum. She had $134,000 cash on hand and he had just $62,000.

Democrats need to win three seats to gain majority control in the Senate, giving them the power to block the Republican agenda. Three Democratic state senators also face recall elections. Their latest financial disclosure reports are due Monday.

Other Republicans facing recall elections are Sens. Alberta Darling of River Hills, Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac, Dan Kapanke of La Crosse and Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls.

In the 10th District, fake Democrat and hardware store owner Isaac Weix raised just $450 beyond a $750 in-kind contribution from the state Republican Party. He faces Democrat Shelly Moore in Tuesday's primary, with the winner moving on to face Harsdorf.

Five other fake Democrats -- Smith, Otto Junkermann, Gladys Huber, Rol Church and John Buckstaff-- all reported just a $750 contribution from the state Republican Party with no other money raised or spent.

Junkermann faces Democrat Nancy Nusbaum on Tuesday, with the winner moving on to face Cowles. Huber is running in the 8th District against state Rep. Sandy Pasch, with the winner moving on to face Darling.

Church is running against Rep. Fred Clark, with the winner moving on to face Olsen. Buckstaff faces Democrat Jessica King on Tuesday with the winner taking on Hopper.

The other protest candidate, Smith, is running against Democratic state Rep. Jennifer Shilling, with the winner facing Kapanke. Smith said Wednesday that he wasn't actively campaigning, but he hoped his candidacy would lead to changes in the state's recall election laws.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)