GOP outspends Dems to run ads in Wisconsin recall
May 28th, 2012
10:52 AM ET
6 years ago

GOP outspends Dems to run ads in Wisconsin recall

(CNN) - If Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wins next week's recall election, the big bucks the Republican governor and his allies have spent to run TV commercials will be a contributing factor.

And the ad wars over the recall contest may give Wisconsin a dubious honor this election year.

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Walker, Republican Party committees, independent tea party groups and other grassroots fiscal conservative organizations have spent around $8.65 million to run ads in the recall campaign, from November through last week, according to data from Kantar Media/Campaign Media Analysis Group, a company that tracks and estimates the costs of campaign ads running on the air.

That's a considerable amount more than the $5.10 million that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker's Democratic challenger, Democratic Party committees and independent progressive groups have spent to run commercials.

In the two week period from May 10 through May 23, Walker and his supporters shelled out around $2.5 million to run ads, including nearly $1.1 million from the governor's campaign, while Barrett's campaign has spent just under $650,000, with the total pro-Barrett spending at around $1.1 million.

"There is intense amount of advertising in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race that is chasing a minute amount of undecided voters. Attitudes are polarized and hardened in the Badger State, but with the contest so close, candidates and their allies have no choice but to go 'all in'. That said, there probably are not a lot of moveable voters at this point," Kenneth Goldstein, CNN's consultant on TV advertising and Kantar Media/CMAG president, said.

Wisconsin voters will cast ballots on June 5th to decide whether to remove Walker from office following last year's bitter battle over his push to limit the collective bargaining rights of state public employee unions.

Walker holds a single digit advantage over Barrett in the two most recent independent polls. According to a St. Norbert College/Wisconsin Public Radio survey released Thursday, 50% of people likely to vote in the June 5th recall election said they supported Walker, the first-term governor, with 45% backing Barrett, who won his party's primary earlier this month, setting up a rematch with Walker from the 2010 election that the Republican won by five points.

A Reason-Rupe poll, also released Thursday, indicated that Walker had a 50% to 42% advantage over Barrett, with 6% unsure.

While the millions spent on ad buys in the recall effort is a lot of money, it's just part of a larger pile of cash being spent to run political ads in Wisconsin this year.

"This advertising campaign in the governor recall contest is actually just a small fraction of what Wisconsin residents have seen and will see this year," said Goldstein, who's also a longtime professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Advertising in the GOP primary for president, recall election primary, and this already – and then Republican Senate primary and competitive races for U.S. Senate and president in the fall. Wisconsin is on track to have the largest number of political ads ever aired in a state."

Also see:

Gingrich's presidential advice: Raise money

Wisconsin recall's a 'test run,' DNC chair says

Giuliani gets over ego and praises Romney

Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Scott Walker • Tom Barrett • Wisconsin
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Well, of course the GOP is out spending the Democrats. It's the only way Karl Rove will have it ... he and his Citizens United bought and paid for SCOTUS enablers.

    America is no longer land of the free and brave. It's the land of the corrupt and greedy.

    May 28, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. A not-so-stupid former republican

    This is what happens when an activist right wing Supreme Court decides that corporations are people! That decision was and is a disaster for the American voter.

    May 28, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. Ronincalif

    Precious comments criticize the Republican spending. Let me remind you the Dems and the Unions who initiated this action spent tens of millions to unseat in the first place. I also find it offensive that the SCOTUS could be bought. When the. Argument is lost name calling begins. Walker is doing the right thing for Wisconsin..

    May 28, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Pete

    Walker,Koch brothers and yes,the republican hypocritical party are out spending the Democrates,but they know they have much more to lose.This is the starting point for Democrates to publicly denounce these republican extremist and their unpatriotic stance against the working class and government employed citizens.Walker and his handlers,the Koch brothers stance against unions,teachers ,public works employees and anyone associated with a union or group is what this politically high stakes war is all about.Our amendment rights and liberties as employees and citizens of just one of 50 states are being judged nationwide in this recall election and will set the stage for further recalls if this one against Walker is found sucessfull,even against the facts of Walkers own actions of voter supression being tryed state wide.It won't work and will just inspire the citizens of Wisconsin more to overturn this government run by corporate greed and money by the Walker,Koch brothers combination..

    May 28, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. xtl

    "A not-so-stupid former republican
    This is what happens when an activist right wing Supreme Court decides that corporations are people! That decision was and is a disaster for the American voter."

    Agreed! They may have taken us across the Rubicon and forever compromised our democracy.

    May 28, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Sanity

    So, CNN is already making excuses for why Walker will win in Wisconsin. Lots of elections have been won by people and parties that spent less than their opposition.

    May 28, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. Dave Thomas

    What is wrong with politicians reaching out to voters through any and all types of media? How else will people get informed? The news networks? Give me a break. Going to speeches and/or campaign events? Who has the time?

    Thank goodness for the Citizen's United decision that ended the monopoly that organized union labor had on influencing elections. Let see how those unions do when candidates point out that union members get to retire early, get obscene pensions, and lifelong medical benefits for their families while the rest of us have to wait until 65, get Medicare, and social security/401K's. Thank goodness the truth about union greed is getting out there and the polls in Wisconsin show people are sick of it.

    May 28, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. Anonymous

    "I also find it offensive that the SCOTUS could be bought."

    Well, then, Ron, are for or against corporations buying elections without accountablity? Because this is exactly what is happening in America today. On the Republican side and on the Democratic side. I, too, find it offensive that our SCOTUS can be bought. But I went further and stated they HAVE been bought ... by Karl Rove.

    Most insiders in both party's would agree. Many have already gone public with their opinions.

    May 28, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Lizzie

    Let's hope the voters in Wisconsin have more brains then those who are for private business to pay for the SEIU members to receive pensions and benefits they can only dream about. If Wisconson vote for the democrat then it will be business as usual, more and higher taxes so the politicians can promise the SEIU more because the are beholden to them.
    PETE, you are probably one who takes everything as the truth that MEDIA MATERS and a George Soros organization feeds you.

    May 28, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. judy

    it is up to the people to get out and vote. No amount of money can change that. It will be a disaster id walker stays. The middleclass will suffer as they have been under repo rule. Vote all repos out take back our country from the crazies. Obama 2012

    May 28, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. Guy

    Over 98% of the time, the group or candidate that spends the most money wins in America.

    May 28, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Anonymous


    Let's hope the voters in Wisconsin have more brains then those who are for private business

    Yeah, Lizzie... because it'll be so much better for Americans to allow a handful of billionaires to run, or should I say, ruin our country, one state at a time.

    May 28, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. fred 37ify

    This will be a good indication of how America in general will vote in November ! Hopefully Gov. Walker will win !

    May 28, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. Rachel

    This is the first nail in the Obama re-election campaign when Scott Walker survives the recall. The democrats know this is a bell weather for the November election. Might as well kiss Obama goodbye now because he's one and done.

    May 28, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. Dawn Berkley

    The union goon squad started this fight along with huge amounts of organizing dollars from Obama’s Organizing For America. They spent huge amounts of money bussing in astroturfers from around the country for the phony protest theater us Wisconsinites were forced to endure for months on end. Now they realize it was a bad move, and that they are going to lose, and are trying to distance themselves.

    Wisconsin is already feeling what freedom is like after throwing off the shackles of organized crime (the unions) who have had our great state in a choke hold for so many years.

    People all over the country are sending cash to help defend Scott Walker from the union thugs that infest our state with hopes that a win here will open a door to a win where they live. If corporations donate, good for them. They, unlike the union crooks, provide jobs.

    And for the sake of disclosure, our family owns a corporation –the vast majority of “small businesses” are corporations. We employ three people. At what size do we business people become the monsters that the democrats are always ranting about? If the democrats get their way, America will be broke and dependant on the government like Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland, and the rest of the euro losers.

    May 28, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. jose

    i hope the people in wisconsin recalls that governor and how the rich people their money will not buy elections.

    May 28, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Lagos

    "This is what happens when an activist right wing Supreme Court decides that corporations are people! That decision was and is a disaster for the American voter."

    Corporations are groups of people headed by a small group of people that aims to make profit for the company, shareholders
    Unions are groups of people headed by a small group of people that aim to make profit for the union members in the form of higher wages and better benefits

    The only difference between unions and corporations are who wins out – Unions aim to make union members winners, and union members alone. Corporations aim to make themselves, their employees (to a lesser extent than Unions would), and shareholders more money. Yet corporations spending money on political campaigns is EVIL and unions spending money on political campaigns is NOBLE and GOOD.

    You can't have it both ways.

    May 28, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will win, unfortunately he's not the best and the brightest .

    In this case you don't get what you pay for !

    May 28, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. AlwaysRight

    Leftist groups poured millions in to the state, funding goons while they defaced the state capital. Now, we're supposed to be offended that Scott Walker and the GOP are spending money in a recall election that those same leftist groups initiated. Where's the logic in that? Is the GOP suppose to role over and play dead in this case?

    May 28, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. getoverit

    But Obama is outspending Romney. Oh, I guess that's different. Maybe that's part of "evolving".....

    May 28, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. onlyfacts61

    It's sad that so many that want to keep Walker as their governor have no clue that his policies will hurt them and benefit corporations. They hear these ads and believe every word that comes from their "team". These people do not know how to think for themselves and Rove and the Koch sisters know this and I'm sure they sit back and laugh at the "dumbness" of their followers! The more these guys win, the more the American dream slips away! I pity the fools!

    May 28, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. John

    The People of Wisconsin now your chance to get rid of GOV Walker, you don't want to blow your chance because you never know what he planning on taking away from the people of Wisconsin next. It seem t5hat the Republican every where are trying to take away are fight away from the People. If you don't show them now, than they will keep taking more and more.

    May 28, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. phil

    That's right everybody...its left vs right. Keep distracted...nothing to see here, move along folks. Unions, corporations, NEITHER should be allowed to buy elections. How do people still not realize its BOTH sides screwing you over, they just make false promises on different things that neither will ever come through on in order to trick you into believing you still have a choice. Well if you aren't a millionaire (doesn't matter dem or repub, both sides have plenty of them) then elections just aren't for your anymore. Like I said, nothing to see here folks. Its just like that 80s movie "Moon Over Parador". You have a choice, Blue Simms or Red Simms...suckers.

    May 28, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. Dale

    Citizens united was one of the single worst things ever done by the supreme court!

    NOW if you have enough money, any office in the country is yours for the buying.

    Democracy is dead until this is overturned.

    Impeaching some justices is NEXT!

    May 28, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Dear Dawn,

    Apparently in your case, the number is three or less. Democrats want us to turn into Greece? Seriously...
    I'm surprised you can manage the keyboard.

    This lying Walker TP clown needs to lose... He's the most divisive Governor in our time. Are you really comfortable with even the TACTICS, much less the policies, this guy has employed to get his way? Think about it...

    May 28, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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