Republican Governor Scott Walker accepted more than half of his $8.38 million in individual contributions in 2013 from well-heeled donors who gave $1,000 or more, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.
The Democracy Campaign reviewed Walker’s 2013 contributions after his campaign boasted that 75 percent of the contributions were from donors who gave $50 or less.
The Walker campaign’s claim and countless others like it by candidates over the years is often made to argue a candidate has strong grassroots support from average voters. But those claims skirt the more important question about where candidates get most of their money – big donors or small donors.
Here’s what the numbers from Walker’s campaign finance reports for 2013 revealed:
The governor received $4.3 million from contributions of $1,000 or more – that’s 51 percent of his $8.38 million in total individual campaign contributions. And many of those $1,000-plus contributions – about $2.4 million – came from contributors outside Wisconsin;
The governor accepted $2.6 million in contributions of $5,000 or more. That’s 31 percent of Walker’s total individual contributions, and most of that money – about $1.7 million – came from outside Wisconsin.
All told, the governor’s total haul from outside Wisconsin was about $4.4 million, or 54 percent of his total individual contributions in 2013. Walker’s out-of-state fundraising dipped a bit from the margin during his 2012 recall election when roughly two-thirds of the $37 million he raised came from outside Wisconsin. The decline in out-of-state contributions was because state fundraising rules during his recall allowed Walker to accept unlimited contributions from individuals, rather than the normal $10,000 per person.
Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke received $866,931 in individual contributions of $1,000 or more – about 68 percent of her $1.27 million in total individual contributions excluding her $429,730 self-contribution. Burke accepted $578,850 in contributions of $5,000 or more – about 46 percent of her individual donations, minus her self-contribution.
Burke’s campaign finance report also showed she received the bulk of her donations in 2013 from Wisconsin contributors. About $1.09 million, or 86 percent of her individual contributions, came from Wisconsin contributors and $180,274 came from out-of-state donors. She received $124,000 in out-of-state individual contributions of $1,000 or more – about 10 percent of the $1.27 million in individual contributions, and $105,000 in contributions of $5,000 or more – about 8 percent of her individual donations.