Wednesday, October 16, 2013

School Voucher Group Hijacking Special Elections

A Washington D.C. special interest group that wants school voucher programs expanded in Wisconsin has already vastly outspent all of the dozen candidates combined before next week’s primaries in two Assembly special elections.

The American Federation for Children, which generally backs Republican legislative and statewide candidates that support spending millions in state tax dollars to send children to private and religious schools, doled out $90,741 as of October 15 on mailings, on-line advertising and robocalls in the Assembly 21st District contest in suburban Milwaukee and central Wisconsin’s 69th Assembly District.

Meanwhile, the candidates reported spending a combined $49,186, according to campaign finance reports also filed earlier this week. Six candidates are running in each race, including five Republicans in the 21st District and four Republicans in the 69th District who will face off in October 22 primaries.

In the 21st District race, the $45,646 spent by American Federation for Children was nearly five times more than the $9,520 doled out by the six candidates. The group is putting its money on Republican Jessie Rodriguez. It’s spending about 198 times more than Rodriguez who reported spending $231 as of October 7 – the least of all the candidates.

In the 69th District contest, the $45,095 spent by the group topped the $39,666 spent by the six candidates. The group has sent numerous mailings – some here and here – in support of Republican Alanna Feddick. American Federation’s spending more than tripled the $13,792 Feddick reported spending as of October 7.

American Federation’s electioneering activities in these races is similar to some of the strategy in other legislative and statewide races where they’ve spent an estimated $4.4 million since 2010 – inundate areas with daily mailings and talk about every other issue – job creation, health care, taxes, etc. – except school vouchers.

The special elections for these Assembly seats are being held because Republican Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder of Abbottsford in the 69th and Mark Honadel of South Milwaukee in the 21st resigned to take other jobs.

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