February 3, 1999
Madison - Governor Tommy Thompson spent $6.72 for each vote he received in 1998, more than four times the cost per vote of his first campaign. By contrast his opponent, Ed Garvey, spent $1.47 for each of the votes he received, the lowest per vote cost of any of Thompson’s previous challengers.
Thompson spent $7,094,248 during the four years leading up to his reelection in 1998. He received 1,055,434 votes. Garvey began campaigning in July 1997 and spent a total of $1,003,616. He received 681,734 votes.
When Thompson was first elected in 1986 he and incumbent Anthony Earl both agreed to spending limits. Thompson actually spent less per vote than Earl in 1986.
"The governor’s campaign finance reform proposal would cost less than $4 million per year, yet he spends more than $7 million into his own campaign," said Michael Jacob, outreach director for the non-partisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. "Changing the way campaigns are financed rests squarely on his shoulders as we head into the next legislative session. If he doesn'’t fix the system we will all suffer through more campaigns that are waged over the airwaves and financed by special interest money."