State Democrats Bury GOP in Fundraising
Democrats have raised record-breaking $11.5 million in 2020, versus $1.5 million for Republicans.
The state Democratic Party raised $7.5 million from late March through June – 10 times more than the state Republican Party.
State campaign finance reports recently filed with the state showed state Democrats raised the bulk of their cash in recent months from numerous individuals who made six-figure contributions and one contributor, Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who gave the party $2,490,000.
Overall, for the first six months of the year, Democrats raised a total of $11.5 million – eight times more than the $1.37 million raised by Republicans.
As of June 30, the state Democratic Party had about $9.3 million in its regular state and segregated campaign accounts, which was 16 times more than the $578,452 that the state GOP had in its state and segregated campaign accounts.
The latest fundraising figures are striking because they’re the opposite of what generally happens. State Republicans usually sharply outraise state Democrats. The Republican Party also usually has a much larger roster of big-money contributors. Finally, state Republicans generally have markedly more cash on hand than state Democrats at the end of a reporting period.
In just six years, combined fundraising by the two state parties has skyrocketed, from $1 million in the first six months of 2014 to just shy of $12.9 million in the first six months of 2020.
The leap in fundraising since 2014 is the result of sweeping changes to campaign finance laws enacted in 2015 by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled legislature.
Those changes included allowing individuals to give unlimited amounts to political parties (the old limit was $10,000) and allowing political parties to accept contributions from corporations for the first time in more than 100 years.
The top individual contributors to the state Democratic Party in the first six months of 2020 were:
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Chicago, $2,490,000;
Karla Jurvetson, a Los Altos, Calif. Physician, $2,300,000;
Linked-In co-founder Reid Hoffman, Mountain View, Calif., $750,000;
Elise Lawson, a Madison surgeon, $540,000;
Sage Weil, of Madison, a software engineer who founded Ceph, WebRing, DreamHost, and InkTank, $540,000;
George Soros, a New York City investor and philanthropist, $490,000;
Robert Price, of La Jolla, Calif., chairman of PriceSmart Inc., $280,000;
S. Donald Sussman, of Portland, ME, a hedge fund manager, $250,000;
Eric Schmidt, of Palo Alto, Calif., a technology advisor to Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and former Novell and Sun Microsystems executive, $249,000;
Lynde Uihlein, a Milwaukee philanthropist, $190,000;
William Reeves, of Honolulu, HI., a hedge fund manager, $140,000;
Stephen Silberstein, of Belvedere, Calif., retired co-founder of Innovative Interfaces, $140,000;
Robert Rubin, of New York City, former U.S. Treasury secretary and retired bank executive, $100,000.
The top individual contributors to the state Republican Party in the first six months of 2020 were:
Diane Hendricks, of Beloit, owner of ABC Supply, $100,000;
Don Zietlow, of La Crosse, owner of Kwik Trip, $100,000.