New Jersey governor campaigns for WalkerWisconsin News
Gov. Chris Christie said Walker stood with Wisconsinites a year ago when he fought off opponents of the new law which virtually eliminated most public union bargaining in the Badger state.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appeared in Green Bay and Oak Creek on Tuesday to urge voters to keep his fellow Republican Gov. Scott Walker in office for his full term. Walker faces a recall election on June 5.
Christie said that over the next five weeks, Wisconsin would answer the question of what’s more powerful, the people or “the monied special interests of Washington, D.C.”
Christie said Walker stood with Wisconsinites a year ago when he fought off opponents of the new law which virtually eliminated most public union bargaining in the Badger state. And now, Christie said, those opponents are trying to reverse the exercise of democracy from 2010 when Walker was elected.
Both Democratic front-runners in next week’s gubernatorial primary slammed Christie’s appearance.
Tom Barrett said Christie and Walker are “darlings of the national right-wing elite.”
Kathleen Falk said both have extreme records and don’t share the values of Wisconsin residents.
Walker’s campaign has raised $25 million since last November and spent most of it on TV ads and direct mailings. The campaign reports that it has $5 million on hands.
The governor received big donations. The largest came from Diane M. Hendricks, founder of American Builders and Contractors Supply Co., who gave $500,000.
Sheldon Adelson, CEO of the Las Vegas Sands casino, and Richard DeVos, co-founder of Amway Corp and owner of the Orlando Magic professional basketball team, each contributed $250,000. Five people gave Walker $100,000.
The two Democratic front-runners in the recall race trail Walker by millions of dollars.
Kathleen Falk reported having raised $977,059. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has reaced $831,508. Falk and Barrett reported having $118,062 and $475,496 on hand, respectively.
An estimated $42 million has already been raised and spent on the recall election, more than any single political race in state history.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel came up with the figure. It’s based on the candidates’ financial reports, plus analysis from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign which estimates expenses by groups that don’t have to report their spending.
The previous record was $37 million in the 2010 governor’s election, when the Republican Walker defeated Democrat Tom Barrett.
Based on the totals so far, Mike McCabe of the Democracy Campaign figures that the final spending in the Walker recall will easily go above $60 million, and it could hit $80 million.
Unlike regular elections, there was a window when individual donors could give as much as they wanted to the governor because of his status as a recall target.
McCabe says you can expect to see more ads from independent groups on both sides during the four-week general election campaign which follows next Tuesday’s primaries.
Walker spends campaign dollars on defense layers
Walker’s campaign has transferred $60,000 to a fund that pays two defense lawyers who represent Walker in an ongoing John Doe probe into former aides when he was the Milwaukee County executive.
The Journal Sentinel said those who donated the money had to approve the use of their contributions for legal fees. Ciara Matthews of the Walker camp would not tell the paper which donors gave their approval.
Also, the governor’s GOP campaign recently paid $171,000 to the law firm of Michael Best and Friedrich.
Most of the expenses were related to Walker’s upcoming recall election, but the Journal Sentinel said over $52,000 was related to compliance issues. Walker has said that his campaign retained former U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic of the Michael Best law firm after prosecutors subpoenaed Walker’s campaign email from 2010.
Three former Walker aides in Milwaukee face criminal charges from the two-year-old John Doe probe, along a former county appointee and a campaign donor. Walker has repeatedly said he does not believe he’s a target of the probe.