MILWAUKEE (AP) â€” At least five of Wisconsin's U.S. House incumbents hold a financial edge heading into next month's elections, according to the most recent campaign finance reports filed Thursday.
The candidates in all eight House races had until just before midnight Thursday to file their current fundraising figures covering Oct. 1 through Oct. 17. Most had done so as of Thursday afternoon.
Those figures show the challengers facing an uphill battle.
One of the most watched races is in the 8th District in northeastern Wisconsin, where Republican U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble faces Democratic challenger Jamie Wall. Ribble's campaign reported raising $164,000 for the most recent 17-day period, and $2.3 million overall. He has $475,000 cash on hand.
That gives him the edge over Wall, a high-tech consultant. He raised about $60,000 in October and $1 million overall, and he has about $130,000 in the bank.
Republicans control five of Wisconsin's eight congressional seats. Democrats have been targeting the seats held by both Republican freshmen â€” Rep. Sean Duffy in the 7th District and Ribble â€” as their best chances to regain a seat
Duffy's campaign reported that the Ashland Republican brought in $2.4 million dollars this year and had just over $650,000 cash on hand. The campaign for his challenger, former state Sen. Patrick Kreitlow, declined to release his latest fundraising figures, although they'll be posted later this week on the Federal Election Commission website.
In the 1st District, which covers Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties, Rep. Paul Ryan has held the seat since 1998 and is seeking re-election even as he runs for vice president.
A formidable fundraiser under ordinary circumstances, the Janesville Republican likely gained an additional advantage from the national exposure he got as GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate. Ryan raised a total of $4.9 million from January to Oct. 17, according to figures posted on the FEC website. He had just under $3 million in the bank as of last week.
His opponent is former Kenosha County board member Rob Zerban, a stronger fundraiser than most of Ryan's previous Democratic challengers. He raised $2.1 million for the year and had $666,000 cash on hand, although he also listed $100,000 in debt.
The only district where there's no incumbent is in the 2nd District, a reliably Democratic district that covers Madison and surrounding areas. The seat was held by Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who gave it up to run for the U.S. Senate.
Because voters in that district tend to be left-leaning the advantage is with the Democratic candidate, state Rep. Mark Pocan. His campaign hadn't filed its report by late afternoon Thursday, but according to its most recent report Pocan had raised just over $1 million and had $135,000 in the bank as of Sept. 30.
That means Republican Chad Lee, an entrepreneur who founded and later sold a small cleaning company, has an uphill battle. Lee raised $72,000 this year and had $8,500 as of Oct. 17.
In the other four races, the two Republican and two Democratic incumbents have substantial cash advantages.
Republican Reps. James Sensenbrenner and Tom Petri, who have each been in office since the 1970s, face token opposition. Sensenbrenner's challenger is Dave Heaster, who works in information technology at Kohler Co.
Sensenbrenner raised about $532,000 from January through last week and $283,000 cash on hand. Heaster, meanwhile, hadn't mounted much of a campaign. The FEC website didn't list any campaign reports for him.
Petri will face a familiar opponent in Joe Kallas, a former teacher and newspaper freelancer who lost to Petri in 2010.
Petri raised about $700,000 this year. Combining that with his previous balance, his campaign said he has about $940,000 cash on hand.
It will be hard for Kallas to compete with that. He said he raised $6,700 this year, and has just under $4,000 in the bank.
The two Democratic incumbents are also generally seen as safe. Rep. Ron Kind squares off against Ray Boland, a decorated retired Army colonel who also taught in public schools for more than two years.
Meanwhile, Rep. Gwen Moore has about $35,000 in the bank, a fivefold advantage over her Republican challenger. Dan Sebring, the owner of an auto-repair business who served in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, reported a bank balance of about $7,300.
Dinesh Ramde can be reached at dramde(at)ap.org.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Did you like this article? Vote it up or down! And don't forget to add your comments below!