MADISON (AP) — Wisconsin's leading business lobbying group announced Friday that a $2 million television ad buy supporting Republican Gov. Scott Walker would hit the air statewide Monday, a little over a week before Democrats will vote for who should take him on in a recall election.
The purchase by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is another sign that the ad wars are heating up before the May 8 primary. A labor-sponsored group announced Thursday it was starting a $1 million ad buy in support of Democrat Kathleen Falk.
Both Falk and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett released their latest campaign fundraising totals Friday in advance of a Monday reporting deadline.
Falk said she raised $1 million from the beginning of the year through Monday, while Barrett, who got into the race on March 30, said he raised $750,000 in just 25 days. Neither of them released how much cash they had on hand. Barrett entered the race with about $480,000.
Secretary of State Doug La Follette and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout are also running as Democrats. And Gladys Huber is a Republican who's running as a Democrat.
While both Falk and Barrett raised impressive amounts, Walker reported in January that over the previous year he had brought in more than $12 million. His report on Monday is expected to show huge numbers, given that he's been traveling the country raising money.
The WMC ad doesn't mention any of Walker's Democratic challengers, said the group's vice president Jim Buchen.
"The idea is to talk about the positive benefits of Scott Walker's accomplishments," said Buchen, who declined to release the ad in advance. "There have been millions of dollars spent criticizing the governor and misrepresenting his record. We think it's important for the public to know the truth."
The pro-Falk ad bought by a group called Wisconsin for Falk attacks Walker's record but also steers clear of mentioning any of Falk's Democratic challengers.
The recall was largely spurred by Walker's proposal, passed last year, that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most state workers. It also raised pension and health care contributions for those workers. Walker argued it was needed to help balance the budget, while opponents said it was designed to cripple Democrat-friendly unions.
The recalls target Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three Republican state senators. A fourth Republican senator resigned before the election, and that seat is up for election as well.
The general election is June 5.
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