Special Election Candidates Self-Funding

December 14, 2017

Wallet With Credit Cards

Seven candidates in two special elections for vacant Assembly and Senate seats have loaned or contributed about $272,715 of their own money to their campaigns (see table below), according to recent campaign finance reports filed with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission.

The reports, which cover fundraising and spending from July 1 through Dec. 4, showed that self-funding by three of the candidates amounted to all or nearly all of the money they raised.

Topping the list of self-funders was GOP Rep. Shannon Zimmerman, of River Falls, who is running for western Wisconsin’s 10th Senate seat. Zimmerman loaned his campaign $184,400, or 82 percent of the $223,868 that he raised since January 2017.

Zimmerman’s opponent, Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake, loaned and contributed a total of $50,954, or 34 percent of the $151,261 his campaign raised since last January.

Patty Schachtner, who is one of three Democrats vying for the 10th Senate seat, loaned $100 to her campaign, or 1 percent of the $13,210 she has raised. The other Democratic candidates did not contribute to their campaigns.

Four of the five Democratic and Republican candidates seeking the 58th Assembly seat in southeastern Wisconsin also contributed to their own campaigns.

Republican Steve Stanek loaned and contributed 100 percent of all of the money his campaign raised – $20,005. And GOP candidate Rick Gundrum loaned his campaign $16,500, or 99 percent of the total $16,600 that he raised. A third Republican in the race, Tiffany Koehler, loaned her campaign $500, or 8 percent of the $6,113 that she raised.

The lone Democrat in the 58th Assembly race, Dennis Degenhardt, contributed $255, or 8 percent of the $3,016 his campaign raised.

Primaries for these special elections are scheduled Dec. 19 and the winners will face off in elections on Jan. 16. For more information about the candidates’ contributors go here and click on the name of the candidate. To view each of the candidates’ personal finances, click on the word “statement.”

The employer information for large donors was added by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign because new campaign finance laws effective last year no longer require candidates to make that contributor information available to the public. Previous state law required candidates to identify the employers and occupations of individuals who contributed more than $100 annually. Now, candidates only have to identify a large contributor’s occupation, which usually amounts to meaningless references, such as owner, president, executive, or businessman.

Employer data about contributors to legislative and statewide candidates is important because it shows the public the special interests that are supporting and influencing candidates. This information often goes a long way in explaining how elected officials vote on public policy and spending matters.

Table

Candidate Party Office Self-Contributions Total Raised
Shannon Zimmerman R S10 $184,400 $223,868
Adam Jarchow R S10 $50,954 $151,261
Steve Stanek R A58 $20,005 $20,005
Rick Gundrum R A58 $16,500 $16,600
Tiffany Koehler R A58 $500 $6,113
Dennis Degenhardt D A58 $255 $3,016
Patty Schachtner D S10 $100 $13,210
TOTAL $272,714 $434,073