Governor Scott Walker’s campaign finance report shows 56,530 itemized individual contributions totaling $7.83 million during the first six months of 2014 – a statistic his campaign claims is indicative of “overwhelming grassroots support for Governor Walker’s campaign to continue moving Wisconsin forward.”
Walker is among dozens of politicians over the years who use the number of campaign contributions to claim they’re really popular with ordinary citizens. But a closer look at the numbers reveals little proof of “overwhelming grassroots support.”
First, the number of itemized contributions came from slightly more than 41,500 donors who represent only seven-tenths of 1 percent of the state’s estimated 5.8 million residents.
Second, most of Walker contributions and donors were from outside Wisconsin. The governor received $4.39 million or 56 percent of his contributions from nearly 22,000 donors outside the state who can’t vote for him, and $3.43 million or 44 percent from slightly more than 19,500 Wisconsin residents – about three-tenths of 1 percent of Wisconsin’s 5.8 million residents. About $9,700 worth of the governor’s itemized contributions listed no state or zip code.
Third, Walker’s campaign statement claims 76 percent of the contributions it received were for $75 or less – another statistic meant to show grassroots support – but that’s not where the governor raised most of his money.
A review of his individual contributions shows he received $4.53 million in contributions of $1,000 or more which represents 57 percent of his total individual contributions for the six-month period.
Walker’s Democratic opponent, Mary Burke, hasn’t made the same claim of grassroots support based on her 2014 fundraising – nor should she. Burke’s campaign report showed she accepted 50,518 itemized contributions totaling $3.29 million from slightly more than 35,500 donors who represent only sixth-tenths of 1 percent of the state’s population.
Burke accepted $1.11 million or 34 percent of her total individual contributions from slightly more than 17,600 out-of-state donors who can’t vote for her, and $2.18 million from slightly more than 17,900 Wisconsin residents – about three-tenths of 1 percent of state residents.
And Burke’s take from contributions of $1,000 or more totals $1.02 million or 31 percent of her individual contributions.