The race to unseat Wisconsin’s two freshmen Republican congressman is drawing millions of dollars, according to the latest campaign finance reports. Although the incumbents have raised twice as much as their challengers, the Democrats are racking up impressive amounts too.
First-term Congressman Reid Ribble has raised two-million dollars and some change, while his 8th District Democratic opponent Jamie Wall is just under the one-million dollar mark. In the 7th Congressional District, the numbers are about the same. Freshman Republican Sean Duffy has raised almost $2.3 million, while Democratic challenger Pat Kreitlow has $1.1 million raised this year.
UW-Superior Political Science Professor Alisa Von Hagel says the money is pouring in from all over the country in these closely contested districts held by freshmen Republicans.
“It’s certainly a substantial amount of money, but I think this is something that is only going to grow," she says. "And we see that these House races are over the past few years and particularly in this election cycle after the Citizens United ruling that we see House races that can get up towards $10 million.”
The $10 million figure includes both campaign contributions and outside SuperPAC spending.
Von Hagel says even though Ribble and Duffy have two-to-one fundraising advantages, one-million dollars by their challengers is nothing to sneeze at.
“The incumbent Duffy is going to have an advantage, but the fact that Kreitlow is competitive fundraising indicates not only that there is support for Kreitlow in this district but it also demonstrates a concentrated effort at the level of the political party to target those districts that are competitive," she says.
Campaign contributions to both Duffy and Kreitlow from July through September was the highest fundraising quarter this year. Duffy has $930,000 cash on hand, while Kreitlow has $340,000 in the bank.