Big Spending by Unions in Walker Recall Has Some Dems Worried

Labor spending just months before the general election

Unions have been investing heavily to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a move that has some Democrats worried that there will be little money left for other battles across the nation.

The Hillreports:

Unions have made ousting Walker a top priority and are poised to spend heavily in Wisconsin. But Democratic strategists and some senior political experts within the labor movement believe the initiative should have been launched before the November presidential election.

Labor officials are also looking at investing resources in Indiana, a red-leaning state, to battle controversial right-to-work legislation backed by Gov. Mitch Daniels (R).

But the Wisconsin fight will consume far more resources. This is a stomach-churning prospect for Democrats and their allies because the labor expenditures could come just months before the general election, when money will be needed for more important battlegrounds such as Ohio and Florida.

"Some were asking us whether we could wait until after the election, but we can't. This is too big a deal," said one labor official.

A decision by labor unions to spend millions on a state-level political battle means Democrats will have that much less outside money helping President Obama and congressional candidates this fall.

The Wisconsin endeavor could help Democrats retain retiring Sen. Herb Kohl's (D-Wis.) seat, but there are only two House races -- Reps. Sean Duffy (R) and Reid Ribble (R) -- in the state that are competitive, according to The Cook Political Report.

Labor leaders believe the Walker race has important national implications, even if it does not appear to have a direct impact on Obama's reelection. They believe it will send a strong message to other Republican governors to think twice about pushing the anti-labor reforms that Walker aggressively championed.

Walker has been getting his own share of dough to fight the recall efforts, much from out of state. The Journal Sentinelreports:

Gov. Scott Walker received $1 million from just four donors in recent weeks, and most of his money came from out of state as he raced to collect funds to fight an effort to recall him.

Giving $250,000 each were Bob Perry, owner of Houston-based Perry Homes and a chief backer of the Swift Boat Veterans ads against Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 race for president; David Humphreys, president of Missouri-based Tamko Roofing Products; Sarah Atkins, a quality consultant for the same company; and Stanley Herzog, chairman and CEO of Missouri-based Herzog.

Perry had given Walker $250,000 in an earlier contribution, bringing his total donation to $500,000.

A host of others gave tens of thousands of dollars each, allowing Walker to raise sums unheard of in state history.

The latest round of giving was disclosed in filings late Monday that showed he collected $4.5 million in just five weeks. The reports cover Dec. 11 to Jan. 17, the day Walker's opponents filed petitions with the state to recall him from office.


State law permits anyone targeted for a recall to bring in unlimited cash until an election is officially called.

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