By Kirsten Adshead | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON — Money talks, especially in politics.
In fact, money says a lot about candidates: why they support something, who supports them, whether they’re confident, whether they’re running scared …
Money also indicates whether the candidate is serious about winning.
This is the second part in a continuing Wisconsin Reporter series on campaign-finance reports. Congressional candidates had until Monday to submit their reports to the Federal Election Commission for the third quarter of 2012.
Wisconsin Reporter will detail the finances of competitors in additional congressional races in the coming days.
In the meantime, here’s what the money in saying in two of Wisconsin’s eight congressional races:
SECOND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Democrat running in the seat left open by Tammy Baldwin, who is running for U.S. Senate
Received this period: $262,613.06
Spent this period: $400,173.09
Cash on hand: $134,614.47
Biggest expenditure: $87,100, media buy to SKDKnickerbocker, which in total received $205,092 this period.
Pocan, who is expected to win his race in the Democratic-heavy district, also is spreading the wealth around to his fellow Democrats: He gave $100 to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin for “financial assistance for College Democrats.” He also contributed $2,000 each to Wisconsin Democrats’ Pat Kreitlow and Jamie Wall’s congressional campaigns, and gave $1,000 a piece to two Minnesota Democrats’ congressional campaigns.
Republican running to replace Tammy Baldwin in Second Congressional District
Received this period: $18,469
Spent this period: $25,929.38
Cash on hand: $5,345.19
Lee’s campaign-finance report exemplifies the difficulties of being a considerable underdog: It’s typical for advertising to be one of a campaign’s largest expenses, and that’s true for Lee.
But his ad buys weren’t in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the third quarter, Lee spent $3,274.75 on advertising — $474.75 at Tiltmedia in Madison, and $2,800 at Glenview, Ill.-based Cascia Films LLC
SIXTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Republican seeking re-election in the Sixth Congressional District, which he represented since 1979
Received this period: $75,237.35
Spent this period: $75,660.67
Cash on hand: $929,680.26
You don’t need to spend much when you’re all-but-a-sure-bet to win re-election.
Petri’s done a bit of apparent campaigning this quarter, spending 11,303.16 on direct-mail solicitations.
But the bulk of his cash this quarter went to … raising more cash. He spent $36,793.75 over the past three months on fundraising retainers and commissions.
With nearly $1 million in the bank, however, it’s still unclear what he intends to do with the money.
Democrat seeking the Sixth Congressional District seat
Received this period: $4,702.87
Spent this period: $2,752.97
Cash on hand: $3,116.70
Kallas’ campaign finances are the surest of signs that virtually everyone believes Petri will win.
Money isn’t everything in politics, but unseating an incumbent takes more than a few yard signs. And, with a few weeks to go before the election, Kallas has yet to prove that he is serious competition.
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