Special Election Candidates Get Most Contributions from Outside Their Districts

June 11, 2018

The major party candidates on the ballot in Tuesday’s legislative special elections accepted about $3 of every $4 in large individual contributions from outside of the districts they want to represent, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

The large proportion of campaign contributions legislators accept from outsiders helps get them elected and remain in office, but also means that the wishes of special interests may trump their constituents’ interests.

In the 42nd Assembly District, Democrat Ann Groves Lloyd faces Republican Jon Plumer, both of Lodi.

Through May 28, Plumer received $16,950 in large individual contributions, which are contributions of $100 or more. The Democracy Campaign review found $14,800, or 87 percent, came from outside the district and $2,150, or 13 percent, came from inside the district.

Lloyd received $36,204 in large individual contributions, including $28,104, or 78 percent, from outside the district and $8,100, or 22 percent, from inside the district.

In the 1st Senate District, Democrat Caleb Frostman, of Sturgeon Bay, faces GOP Rep. Andre Jacque, of De Pere.

Through May 28, Frostman received $48,468 in large individual contributions, including $34,945, or 72 percent, from outside the district and $13,523, or 28 percent, from inside the district.

Jacque received $41,473 in large individual contributions, including $29,673, or 72 percent, from outside the district and $11,800, or 28 percent, from inside the district.

The proportion of in- versus out-of-district contributions involving candidates in the special elections resembles figures for in- and out-of-district contributions in general legislative elections. A large number of Democratic and Republican legislative candidates regularly received between two-thirds and three-quarters or more of their election-year contributions from people who cannot vote for them.