UW expert anticipates record spending ahead of general election

The primary election is in the books, and as candidates set their sights on the November 8th general election, an expert in Madison believes spending is going t
Updated: Aug. 10, 2022 at 10:20 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -The primary election is in the books, and as candidates set their sights on the November 8th general election, an expert in Madison believes spending is going to explode in the coming months.

“So your target audience really changes pretty dramatically, where your not just focused on your base anymore the way you are in a primary, but now you have to attract a majority of people state-wide,” said the University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of political science David Canon.

He believes spending in Wisconsin could reach record-breaking heights between August and November. Both the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races already have seen considerable spending, something Canon says will only grow.

“They’ll have the campaign events, they’ll be up on tv, ideally have some door-to-door canvassers, well-funded campaigns will do all of those things, sort of throw the spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks,” said Canon. “Now one thing you’re going to see, in the senate race especially but also in the gubernatorial race, is record amounts of outside money in this campaign.”

By the start of August, the Associated Press reports over $11 million in spending by Democratic incumbent Governor Tony Evers and over $12 million by Republican Tim Michels. In the race for U.S. Senate, Republican incumbent Ron Johnson spent over $15 million by the end of July, and Democrat Mandela Barnes spent nearly $6 million, according to OpenSecrets.org (a website tracking political spending and fundraising).

“Money is definitely a necessary condition; just spending more and more money does not guarantee success,” said Canon.

He says how the funds are used is just as crucial, which is why well-funded campaigns try so many strategies. He added incumbents typically spend more than challengers. Canon explains incumbents tend to have access to more PAC money, along with a track record of success bringing in more donors.

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