MILWAUKEE -- $100 million is one estimate of how much could be spent in the campaign preceding a potential recall election against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. There is some concern that the national money being spent in Wisconsin will mean national races, including the race for president, may suffer financially. There is a lot of criticism from Republicans that outside unions are spending big to influence Wisconsin's future, whereas Democrats say conservative third-party out-of-state groups are trying to do the same.
There are many opinions from both sides regarding how all this spending on the recall effort will affect other important races, such as Wisconsin's U.S. Senate race and even the 2012 race for president.
Those who are against keeping Walker in office, and those who want to keep him in the Wisconsin State Capitol as governor are making their efforts a top priority in the state of Wisconsin. Unions say they are poised to spend heavily in the state to oust Walker, but it comes at a time when their money would ordinarily be used to support national races. "Obviously, it's a competitive environment for political fundraising. We have a lot less fundraising ability than the Republicans, but I believe we'll have the resources to win," Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said.
Conservative third-party groups, such as Americans For Prosperity, are already spending thousands of dollars in Wisconsin, aimed at keeping Walker in office. "The U.S. Senate campaign is absolutely important, but what's on most people's minds right now is definitely the recall," Luke Hilgemann, the Wisconsin Director for Americans for Prosperity said.
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Tommy Thompson, says there already seems to be an impact from recall spending on fundraising for the Senate race. "It's going to be almost impossible to raise big dollars in the state of Wisconsin. With the money going into recalling, the governor's race is considered the most important one," Thompson said.
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Mark Neumann says the governor's race is very important, but his fundraising effort is still doing well. "We've had 7,500 contributions in four short months, and it's going great, and we're very appreciative of what we're getting. We've found that when we talk about the conservative viewpoint on the national level, like Scott Walker is doing on the local level, people are willing to contribute to both races," Neumann said.
Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin says there seems to be enough energy and money to go around.
Calls to Republican Senate candidate Jeff Fitzgerald's campaign, and the National AFL-CIO have not been returned.