From Daily Kos, Chris Bowers reports that labor unions and small donors have given Democratic challengers a significant edge in fundraising in six campaigns to recall Republican state senators who supported eviscerating collective bargaining rights for public workers:
…Democrats have an edge in cash on hand in four of the six campaigns. It’s pretty unusual for challengers to lead incumbents in cash on hand, much less for the majority of challengers to lead, so this is a very strong showing for the Democratic candidates.
What’s particularly impressive is how the Democratic candidates built this advantage. According to a press release from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, the average donation to the six candidates ranged from a low of $19.27 for Nancy Nusbaum (who faces Republican Robert Cowles), to a high of $37.14 for Sandy Pasch (who is up against Republican Alberta Darling). Without Pasch, the highest average donation to a Democratic candidate was $23.99 to Jennifer Shilling. Overall, the six Democrats raised $1,556,000 from about 70,000 donors who gave an average of roughly $22.
Bowers quotes from Tom Tolan’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article on the unions contribution to recall fund-raising:
political action committee formed by a coalition of unions active in state recall races says it has raised more than $4 million in the past six weeks, and has $2 million on hand to help Democrats.
…In a filing prepared for the state Government Accountability Board, We Are Wisconsin listed more than $3 million in donations from the national AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education. The group also received contributions in the hundreds of thousands of dollars – both cash and in-kind – from units of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state’s biggest teachers union; and the United Food and Commercial Workers.
Bowers reports that “We Are Wisconsin volunteers have knocked on over 100,000 doors across the state” and more than 100,000 donors “have given to the recall effort in some fashion” and adds,
…It is particularly heartwarming that in the Wisconsin recall elections, the Democratic spearhead is being forged almost entirely by small donors, volunteers on the ground, and unions. Given that this remains, by far, the fight in 2011 with the most potential to build progressive power, perhaps it had to unfold this way or else the fight would not have happened at all.
As Bowers concludes, “We do not fight an infinitely powerful opponent. We really can win if we stick together and push back hard. So far, in Wisconsin we’re doing just that.”