Matt Rothschild

Pro-Bradley Groups Had 4-to-1 Spending Edge

Secretive outside groups spend four times more on Bradley than those supporting Kloppenburg.

By , Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Apr 6th, 2016 02:27 pm
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JoAnne Kloppenburg vs Rebecca Bradley

JoAnne Kloppenburg vs Rebecca Bradley

In the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, outside groups supporting Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley outspent those supporting Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg almost 4 to 1.

All told, outside groups for Bradley spent about $2,714,000 while those for Kloppenburg spent about $710,000. That’s a ratio of 3.8 to 1.

Kloppenburg lost her bid on Tuesday for a 10-year seat on the high court to Bradley.

Topping the list of outside spenders was the Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, a conservative Madison-based group formed late last year that doled out an estimated $2.6 million on four television ads and a radio ad to support Bradley. Two of the broadcast ads – audio here and video on YouTube – praised Bradley and the other ads – here, here,* and here* – attacked Kloppenburg for decisions in three cases before the Appeals Court she sits on.

The Alliance is an issue ad group, which means that it can secretly raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to spend on its outside electioneering activities.

Behind the Alliance was the Greater Wisconsin Committee, which spent an estimated $710,000 on issue ads and independent expenditures to support Kloppenburg. Greater Wisconsin, which was formed in 2004 to mostly support Democratic candidates for statewide office and the legislature, doled out an estimated $600,000 through its issue ad arm to air a television ad – here – that attacked Bradley for controversial opinion columns she did as a college student. In addition, Greater Wisconsin’s corporation said in paperwork filed with the state that it would spend about $107,300 on online advertising against Bradley.

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), which was created in 2002 to support GOP candidates for the legislative offices throughout the country, registered a committee with the state that spent about $114,000 on a 60-second radio ad – here – and mailings to support Bradley. The RSLC’s Judicial Fairness Initiative was formed last fall to support conservative judicial candidates around the country.

Finally, WEAC Region 3 PAC, a political action committee affiliated with the Wisconsin Education Association Council which is the state’s largest teachers union, spent about $2,400 on mailings to support Kloppenburg.

*When clicking on this link you may prompted to open a file in your default media player. If so, click “OK.” Once the complete video has been downloaded it will automatically play.

Categories: Politics

6 thoughts on “Pro-Bradley Groups Had 4-to-1 Spending Edge”

  1. Dave K says:

    Does this number include the dollar value provided by the countless hours of radio talkers?

  2. Milwaukee Native says:

    Dave K, I seriously doubt all that free air time is ever monetized. That’s just frosting on the GOP Machine’s cake.

  3. Bennett says:

    Wow, the grapes sure are sour in here. Maybe, just maybe Kloppenburg isn’t a judge Wisconsinites want on the big desk. If she couldn’t beat 2 flawed candidates in elections that also featured huge democrat turnout it’s probably less about the money and more about Ol’ Kloppenburg.

    Maybe I’m wrong. Wheel her out again the next time there is an opening let’s see how she does.

  4. Bruce Thompson says:

    Kloppenberg got 47.7% to Bradley’s 52.3%.
    In the presidential primary, the Democrats got 47.7% and Republicans 52.3%.
    My hypothesis is that Bradley owes her election to Republican antipathy to Trump, which drove turnout.
    Essentially the Wisconsin Supreme Court has become another partisan battleground. Sad.

  5. Mr. Jesse says:

    Bruce, looking over the results from Milwaukee County I find some weird numbers. 62.8% of the Presidential Primary votes were for democrat candidates but only 55.17% of the Supreme Court vote went to Kloppenberg.

    Looking at the actual votes, Bradley received ~10,000 more votes than republicans voted in the Pres. Primary… Kloppenberg has a deficit of 42,279 votes. I can’t really comprehend how that came to pass if people were voting proportionally for the presidential primary & their ideological match in the supreme court race.

    http://county.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/cntyElectCommission/ElectionResults/2016/Spring-Election—April-5-2016/MCElectionSummaryFinalInternet.htm

    PRECINCTS COUNTED (OF 479). . . . . 479 100.00
    REGISTERED VOTERS – TOTAL . . . . . 540,309
    BALLOTS CAST – TOTAL. . . . . . . 312,500
    BALLOTS CAST – Republican . . . . . 114,043 36.49
    BALLOTS CAST – Democratic . . . . . 196,246 62.80
    BALLOTS CAST – NONPARTISAN. . . . . 2,211 .71
    BALLOTS CAST – CROSSOVER . . . . . 122
    BALLOTS CAST – BLANK. . . . . . . 40 .01
    VOTER TURNOUT – TOTAL . . . . . . 57.84
    VOTER TURNOUT – CROSSOVER . . . . . .02
    VOTER TURNOUT – BLANK . . . . . . .01

    Justice of the Supreme Court
    (VOTE FOR) 1
    (WITH 479 OF 479 PRECINCTS COUNTED)
    JoAnne F. Kloppenburg . . . . . . 153,967 55.17
    Rebecca G. Bradley . . . . . . . 124,187 44.50
    WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 948 .34
    Over Votes . . . . . . . . . 2
    Under Votes . . . . . . . . . 33,396

  6. Rich says:

    Kloppenburg lost on the “…my life experiences…shape my behavior…” comments against Bradley’s “…I’ll apply the law exactly as written…” comments. Taken at exactly face value, Bradley was likely to convert people not normally aligned with her politics, since “applying the law as written is a good thing, right?”. Anyone who looked any deeper than that at Bradley likely voted against her. Truth is, most people don’t research Supreme Court elections well enough (or care) because they’ve not educated themselves on what the impacts could be. Finally, having that little “(I)” next to her name helped as well, since if you didn’t really care, didn’t research anything, and bothered to color in the circle, why not do it for the person who’s already there?

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