Republican Lawmakers Led Fundraising in First Six Months of 2019

August 15, 2019

Legislators and legislative fundraising committees raised $2.2 million between January and June 2019.

Majority Republicans, who control the Assembly 63-36 and the Senate 19-14, raised twice as much as Democratic lawmakers as of June 30. Republican legislative committees raised $1.47 million from individuals and political action committees (PACs), and Democrats raised about $726,200 during the first six months of 2019.

Per capital, GOP lawmakers also raised more campaign cash than Democrats. Republican legislative committees raised $17,720 per capita, which was about 27 percent more than the $13,965 per capita raised by Democratic legislative committees.

About half of the $2.2 million raised went to only four committees (Table) that are used by Republican and Democratic legislative leaders to milk wealthy special interests for campaign cash to spend on elections. These four legislative campaign committees, which usually raise more than any given candidate committees in any fundraising period, accepted just over $1.1 million in individual, PAC and corporate contributions.

These legislative campaign committees are run by the top elected officials from both parties in the Assembly and State Senate. Contributions to these committees give those legislative leaders a lot of leverage over their members. Campaign committees of individual candidates raised about $1.1 million.

Legislative Campaign Committee Fundraising
January – June 2019

Republican Assembly Campaign Committee $391,086
Committee to Elect a Republican Senate $326,806
State Senate Democratic Committee $197,127
Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $195,832
TOTAL $1,110,851

After the four legislative campaign committees, the lawmakers who raised the most in the first six months of 2019 were:

Democratic Rep. Tip McGuire, of Kenosha, about $153,100

Republican Sen. Patrick Testin, of Stevens Point, about $93,000

GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, of Juneau, about $92,100.

Overall, the $2.2 million raised by legislative committees in the first half of 2019 was higher than the amounts raised during the first six months in most previous odd-numbered years since 2003 (see Bar Chart).

Legislative Fundraising During the First Six Months of Budget Years

Except for 2009 and 2011, legislative committees usually raised between $1.3 million and $1.8 million during the same period in other odd-number years. Legislative fundraising during the first six months of 2011 was unusually higher, about $6.8 million, because nine state senators targeted for recall elections that year were allowed to raise unlimited contributions for several weeks during the six-month period.