• WisPolitics


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

 12:22 PM 

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign: Outside groups spent more than $1.8 million on high court race

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign estimates four outside groups spent $1.8 million on the Supreme Court race between Feb. 20 and March 16, most of it on so-called issue ads.

By comparison, Justice Louis Butler spent $244,710 between Feb. 5 and March 17, according to his latest campaign finance report, while Burnett County Judge Michael Gableman spent $114,606 during the same period.

WDC Executive Director Mike McCabe said it's likely the outside groups will exceed the $3.1 million spent on last year's Supreme Court race between Linda Clifford and Annette Ziegler.

But he's not sure whether the candidates and outside groups will combine to spend more than the $5.8 million the WDC believes was spent in 2007. McCabe said that’s because Butler and Gableman won't come close to the $2.7 million the candidates spent last year.

"We don't know that the $5.8 million mark will be broken, but spending will be much more lopsided in favor of the interest groups," McCabe said.

The WDC based its estimate largely on data collected by an ad monitoring service that tracks the top 100 markets in the U.S. For Wisconsin, that includes Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee. The WDC then did estimates on TV buys in other Wisconsin markets, as well as radio campaigns and other spending it has been able to track.

McCabe called it a "very conservative" estimate of spending in the race through mid-March.

WisPolitics has been tracking TV buys in the Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee markets. It found more than $1.4 million spent by the outside groups on TV buys alone for the major network affiliates in those three markets for the same time period studied by the WDC.

The WisPolitics tally of TV ads in those markets topped $1.9 million for the outside groups through the end of last week.

See the WDC report:
http://www.wisdc.org/hijackjustice08issueads.php

-- By Staff

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