Updated: May 24, 2017
Republican Governor Scott Walker was first elected to a four-year term as governor in the 2010 general election and later won a June 2012 recall election to remain in office. The recall election was spurred by the successful implementation in 2011 of his plan to restrict public employee collective bargaining rights.
He won a two-way primary and faced Democratic and Independent opposition in the election. His Democratic opponent was Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, his opponent in the 2010 election.
The governor raised and spent more than three times as much in the recall election than he had in the record-breaking 2010 governor's race. Walker was able to accept immense special interest contributions above the annual $10,000 calendar year limit on individual donations because state law allows recall targets to collect unlimited contributions until a recall election is scheduled.
American Majority Action ($20,537), Citizens for Southwest Wisconsin ($3,134), Coalition for American Values Committee ($400,080), Conservative StrikeForce - Wisconsin Fund ($32,125), Education Action Group Inc. - Acct 2 ($1,200), Ending Spending Action Fund Wisconsin ($245,000), FreedomWorks for America - Wisconsin ($50,937), Friends of Mark Neumann Inc. ($1,500), John Lader ($250), Moving Wisconsin Forward Committee ($19,197), National Rifle Assocation of America ($799,561), NRA Political Victory Fund ($16,100), Republican State Leadership Committee Inc. ($3,245), Right Direction Wisconsin PAC ($9,410,008), Volunteers for Agriculture ($15,380) and Wisconsin Right to Life PAC ($4,636) made independent expenditures favoring Governor Walker.
AFSCME - Wisconsin Special Account ($1,488), Citizen Action of Wisconsin Inc. ($60,000), Defending Wisconsin PAC ($886), DFA-Wisconsin ($20,000), DGA Action Wisconsin ($35,929), DLCC Wisconsin PAC ($11,365), Grassroots North Shore ($50), Greater Wisconsin Political Independent Expenditure Fund ($5,376,080), Human Rights Campaign ($100), MTEA PAC Fund ($466), PCCC Recall Committee ($114,990), PCCC Recall Fund IE ($39,310), People for the American Way ($58,774), Planned Parenthood Action Fund ($455), Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin Political Fund ($57,908), Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin Inc. ($106,501), Rebuild the Dream in Wisconsin ($43,511), Restore Wisconsin's Image and Reputation ($10,000), Save Wisconsin Deer Hunting ($3,073), Superior Federation of Labor COPE ($2,487), Voces de la Frontera Action Committee ($38,572), We Are Wisconsin Political Fund ($3,043,287), Win Wisconsin ($487), Wisconsin Education Association Council ($174,575), Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters IE Committee ($48,213), Wisconsin Recall Movement ($395), Workers' Voice ($152,818) and Working America ($17,459) made independent expenditures supporting his Democratic opponent.
One independent expenditure group, Wisconsin for Falk ($4,474,654), exclusively supported losing Democratic primary candidate and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.
Two groups, Wisconsin Recall Action Fund spent an estimated $1.2 million and the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama PAC spent an estimated $50,000. Both groups ran advertising campaigns that met the legal standards for independent expenditures but did not file required reports in 2012 that detailed their spending on the June 2012 governor’s recall. Two years later, in August 2014, Wisconsin Recall Action Fund filed reports claiming it spent only about $312,000 on the governor’s recall election. The late reports, however, clearly devote only a fraction of the group’s total $1.9 million in spending during the first half of 2012 to its spending on recall electioneering activities. Wisconsin Recall Action did file the legally required "oath of independent disbursements" with the Government Accountability Board during the recall, but the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama PAC was not even registered as a political action committee
American Federation for Children (estimated $1.1 million), Americans for Prosperity/MacIver Institute for Public Policy (estimated $3.7 million), Center for Union Facts (estimated $1 million), Club for Growth Wisconsin (estimated $100,000), Greater Wisconsin Committee ($400,000) State Tea Party Express (estimated $400,000), Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (estimated $4 million) spent undisclosed sums on "issue ads" supporting Governor Walker.
Candidates and outside special interests combined spent nearly $81 million on the governor's recall election, smashing the $37.4 million record set in 2010.
Raised: $37,365,885 - Spent: $36,128,168
Vote: 53.1% - Cost/Vote: $27.05
Disclosed Independent Spending: $11,334,887
Estimated "Issue Ad" and Independent Spending: $11.7 million
Raised: $6,553,179 - Spent: $6,629,353
Vote: 46.3% - Cost/Vote: $5.69
Disclosed Independent Spending: $9,419,175
Estimated "Issue Ad" and Independent Spending:$0
*All figures represent candidate income before any returns.
Interest Group Contributions from
Individuals and Committees*
|Banking & Finance||$2,536,201.39|
|Manufacturing & Distributing||$2,046,554.71|
|Telecommunications & Computers||$328,673.75|
|Civil servant/public employee||$121,538.20|
*Individual contributions includes all contributions from contributors of $100 or more to the candidate in a calendar year.
Committee contributions of any amount are included. Any returned and self contributions are excluded.
|Hendricks, Diane M & Kimberlee||Janesville, WI||ABC Supply Co||$532,100|
|Perry, Bob J & Doylene||Houston, TX||Perry Homes||$500,000|
|Uihlein Family||Lake Forest, IL||U-Line Corp||$266,075|
|Humphreys, David C||Joplin, MO||TAMKO Building Products||$260,000|
|Herzog, Stanley & Randy||St Joseph, MO||Herzog Contracting Corp||$254,050|
|DeVos, Dick & Betsy||Lantana, FL||Alticor/Windquest||$252,600|
|Adelson, Sheldon||Las Vegas, NV||Las Vegas Sands||$250,000|
|Atkins, Sarah||Joplin, MO||TAMKO Building Products||$250,000|
|Kern, Robert D & Patricia E||Waukesha, WI||Generac Corp||$200,000|
|Schuette Family||Sugar Grove, IL||Wausau Homes||$182,600|
*Excludes contributions to campaigns for Milwaukee County Executive.