Monday, April 25, 2011

Hopper campaign finance update

Randy Hopper is not sitting nearly as pretty as his colleague on the Committee for Joint Finance, Senator Darling (see last post). Though it's not fair to compare his district to that of Alberta Darling, who represents perhaps the most wealthy Senate district in the state, the Committee to Recall Hopper is also doing far better than its north-suburban partner.

Hopper has raised $130,000 in 2011, with only $40,000 of that coming in the latest reporting period.

Of that $130k on the year, and of the $40k in this period, there are two very big donations. In this period, we saw Jere Fabick give $20,000 to Hopper's campaign. He's the owner of  FABCO Equipment of Madison, which owns the license for Caterpillar equipment sales in Wisconsin and the UP. Last period saw Ralph Stayer of Fond du Lac donate $15,000. Stayer is the founder of Johnsonville Sausage. These gifts and another 9 donations larger than $1,000 in size account for 36% of Hopper's total.

So far, Hopper's biggest expense has actually been to keep his Campaign Manager, DC import Jeff Harvey, in hotel rooms up and down the Fox Valley. He's spent nearly $5,000 on that so far. The rest is scattered around, paying for staff salaries, office supplies, and nothing else interesting.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Recall Hopper has raised almost $70k on the year, but has spent almost $50k of that. It should be interesting to see how Jessica King can do in her fundraising effort.

Darling campaign finance update

The Government Accountability Board (GAB) handles fundraising for these recalls in an interesting way - they required fundraising reports from earlier in the year to be turned in just last week, and required reporting from the last month up to April 18 to be handed in today. This gives us a rapid fire glimpse into how these campaigns are handling the fundraising challenges

Alberta Darling continues her fundraising rampage, raising more than $230,000 in the latest period. She's also spent nearly $190,000 so far. Of that, $65,000 has been spent on radio, $75,000 on direct mail, upwards of $20,000 on campaign consultants, $15,000 on polling, and she's not skimping on the hors d'oeuvres at her fundraisers, spending thousands of dollars on a few events.

Notable donations:

  • $7,000 from Albert Nicholas of Nicholas Funds
  • $2,500 from Donald Taylor of Waukesha State Bank
  • $2,500 from Ted Kellner of Fiduciary Management, and $20,000 from his conduit
  • $1,000 from Craig Leipold, Management of the NHL's Minnesota Wild
  • A second personal gift of $10,000 from Daniel McKeithan of Tamarack Petroleum
    • $20,000 for him on the year.
Rep. Sandy Pasch, good luck to you!

4/28: A helpful write up from the Journal-Sentinel is here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Campaign Finance update

WisPolitics has an update on the campaign finance situation among Senators who will be facing recall.

Campaign finance limits do not apply in these elections, something which should be carefully noted.

Looks like Alberta Darling will be tough to knock off. She represents one of the wealthiest districts in the state (Mary Lazich represents the other, but she won't face recall) and has received a donation of $20,000 from just one very wealthy donor. Whitefish Bay, Mequon, and the other northern suburb communities certainly have more to offer to a wealthy GOP candidate. We'll have to see if Rep. Sandy Pasch can collect from the many doctors and health care executives who live in the area, some of whom have donated extensively to her and former Rep. Sheldon Wasserman in the past.

Also notable is the sizable amount of Money that Randy Hopper has accumulated. We should find out more tomorrow about how his fundraising efforts are coming along, as many campaigns are required to update their finances up to April 18th by Monday.

Outlook: Senator Randy Hopper

Of all five Republican State Senators who have had recall signatures filed against them so far, Senator Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) is seen by some as the most vulnerable. His opponent will be Jessica King, a long-time city council member, deputy mayor, and attorney from Oshkosh. She lost the seat to Sen. Hopper in 2008 by a few hundred votes.

Hopper has had an undistinguished first term in office, but seems to have developed a good record of keeping in contact with constituents. He also has been chosen to serve as one of the Republican representatives to the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, a real achievement for a senator with only two years experience. At one point, it's possible he may have been looked at as a candidate for future leadership.

That was before the details of an affair he had with 25-year-old GOP operative Valerie Cass became public, including accusations that he had helped place her in a job with the Walker administration. It was also before his estranged wife Alysia Hopper signed his recall petition and spoke out against him publicly, explaining that he lived in Madison, and not in Fond du Lac. It was before he directed constituents to a phone sex hotline, and before he told a room full of constituents at a listening session that he would not take questions or comment on their remarks, eliciting significant anger.

Hopper posing non-ironically with AFSCME supporters in 2008.
It's a lot for any opposition candidate to work with. To his benefit, it sounds like Hopper knows what he's up against; he's retained national talent to staff his campaign and was reportedly one of the beneficiaries of a major Washington fundraiser held in March to begin building a firewall against recall efforts.

After the jump, let's take a look at how Hopper was elected in 2008.