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Democrats increase fundraising efforts to defeat Walker in Wisconsin
After being knocked for sitting on the sidelines, Democrats nationally are ramping up fundraising efforts in a bid to oust Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Republican, in a recall election next week.
The liberal Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) said this week it had raised $100,000 for field efforts to support Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. The group overall has committed almost $250,000 for the recall.
The effort follows a Democratic National Committee (DNC) email last week to supporters nationally asking for money to help defeat Mr. Walker. The Democratic Governors Association also says it has contributed $2 million to support Mr. Barrett, and is organizing volunteering efforts.
But Democratic activists have accused the DNC of failing to support Mr. Barrett sooner, particularly since Mr. Walker enjoys a big cash advantage.
Mr. Walker has raised more than $30 million since he took office in early 2011, including $20 million this year and more than $5 million in the last five weeks, according to state campaign finance reports.
Mr. Barrett raised about $3.4 million during the past five weeks, and a total of more than $4 million since he joined the race in late March.
The DNC has pushed back at accusations it hasn't done enough, saying the committee and its fundraising arm for President Obama have committed almost $1.5 million to Wisconsin this election cycle. The DNC says those assets — including staff, offices, volunteers and online efforts — are now "fully deployed" in support of the Barrett campaign.
The DNC added it's working to raise more money for the recall this week, with Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz visiting Wisconsin on Wednesday to campaign for Mr. Bennett and raise funds.
The committee declined to give a total amount of money it had committed to the recall.
"Any suggestion of a lack of commitment or engagement on the part of the [DNC and its Obama campaign arm] does nothing more than play into the hands of Scott Walker and his billionaire buddies, who have launched their frontal assault on working families in Wisconsin," DNC spokeswoman Melanie N. Roussell said.
The PCCC said its latest contribution to the Walker recall was given directly to Wisconsin Democratic Party groups — instead of spending the money on buying TV ads — to ensure cash went directly to field efforts.
"This has to be an all-hands-on-deck moment for Democrats across the country," spokesman Neil Sroka said. "It's good to see that the DNC has been making some news to increase fundraising, but this is a key national election that is important for all Democrats to work on."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus chided the DNC for what he said was it's late push to get involved in the recall election.
"They certainly haven't appeared as confident in Tom Barrett in recent weeks than we have in Scott Walker," Mr. Priebus told reporters during a Wednesday conference call. "The Democrats have been all over the map on Tom Barrett and this Wisconsin recall but now apparently they're all in, so we're looking forward to see what happens on Tuesday."
The RNC says Republican activists from across the country have poured into Wisconsin to volunteer on behalf of Mr. Walker.
"The Illinois GOP has proudly 'adopted' Wisconsin to offer our support to Gov. Walker," Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady said in a written statement. "Illinois Republicans will be working hard from now till June 5 to help Gov. Walker."
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, which oversees the state's campaign finance and election laws, has predicted 60 percent to 65 percent of the voting age population will turn out for the Tuesday recall, which would eclipse the 49.7 percent turnout in the 2010 general election when Mr. Walker was elected governor.
A new Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday showed Mr. Walker with the support of 52 percent of likely voters, compared with 45 percent for Mr. Barrett. The results were similar to a Marquette poll taken two weeks earlier in which the governor had a 6-percentage-point lead.
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About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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