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Mike McCabe’s grassroots campaign for governor raised nearly $261,000 through the end of June from thousands of small contributions to supplement the efforts of more than 2,500 volunteers throughout the state and McCabe’s own barnstorming across Wisconsin.
McCabe stands alone among the eight remaining candidates for the Democratic nomination in limiting individual donations to no more than $200. Supporters are allowed to give multiple times but not more than a total of $1,000. State law allows candidates for governor in Wisconsin to take as much as $20,000 from individuals and $86,000 from political action committees.
“It is thrilling to see the outpouring of support our campaign has received from every part of the state, not only in the form of large numbers of small donations but especially in the form of volunteered time and effort, which are not reflected on any campaign finance report. We have the human and financial resources to run the kind of campaign needed to get Wisconsin a very different kind of leadership that puts regular people in the driver’s seat of our government,” McCabe said. “We don’t have big money on our side but when it comes to people power our campaign is the richest in the race by far.”
McCabe went on to say: “Money will not win this election. Those who believe it will are conceding that the governor will be elected again, because he will have vastly more than anyone. No candidate in the Democratic field has raised anywhere close to a tenth of what the governor has. Two of the Democrats with the most money proved unable to translate it into support from voters and recently suspended their campaigns and withdrew from the race. Those who are chasing fat cat donors from coast to coast are playing the governor’s favorite game and playing it by his rules. They are playing to his strengths and ultimately playing into his hands. To get a new governor, we need to challenge and overcome money power with people power. It takes a movement to beat the machine.”
The campaign’s committee, Commoners for Mike McCabe, submitted a report today to state election authorities listing more than 1,800 contributions in the first half of 2018. These combined with nearly 1,100 contributions received in 2017 brings the total number of donors to nearly 3,000.
In its report of campaign activity through the end of June, the committee reported fundraising in the last six months of more than $156,000 and expenses of just over $109,000 with an ending cash balance topping $68,000. This brings the total amount raised for the campaign to nearly $260,800 with expenses totaling slightly more than $192,500. In 2017 contributions totaled $104,000 and expenses were $83,000 with an ending balance of $21,000.
Based on today’s campaign finance filing, McCabe would have been included in the televised debate the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association was planning if it had gone forward. The group wanted to include only the top four candidates in the most recent Marquette University poll who also had raised at least $250,000. McCabe was in the top four, having climbed to a tie for second among the 10 candidates in the race at that time. The poll also showed McCabe running neck and neck with the governor. According to the Marquette poll, McCabe runs stronger in a head-to-head matchup with Walker than any of the other Democratic candidates.
The WBA backed off its plan and cancelled the debate in early June after a firestorm of protest. McCabe was first among the candidates to call out the WBA for relying on polling and fundraising to determine which candidates should debate and committed to boycotting the event had the association chosen to go ahead with it.
“WBA’s format would have favored me. But it would have been a disservice to the voters and to the democratic process,” McCabe said.