It may be too late to break the campaign finance report numbers, as I planned to do last night, but it ain't too late to comment on them.
The figures for January were interesting, to say the least. There was a pretty clear pattern: The better you're known, the less you raise.
Just look at Zach Brandon's campaign finance report. The centrist candidate is reporting more than $56,000 raised in January, which is about $20,000 higher than the already-impressive figures reported by Eileen Bruskewitz and Scott McDonell.
Nevertheless, a dose of skepticism is appropriate with regards to Brandon's numbers. First off, he reported almost nothing in the previous month, when other candidates, including McDonell, Parisi and Wineke, had already raised substantial amounts of money. Whether he intentionally held off on fundraising (or told contributors to hold their checks for an extra week) or not is a matter of speculation. However, trying to load as much money into the final report is a tactic political veterans are very familiar with.
At the very least, however, Brandon has caught up with other candidates and has now come out with a flashy TV ad. He's in it to win it. Not bad for a former alder.
Bruskewitz has also rebounded from a slow start by raising more than $1,000 a day in January. She needs to buy some media and make sure every conservative voter in Dane County knows that she is their candidate. If she does that, why heck, she has as good a chance as making it through the primary as anybody.
McDonell raised another 35 grand in January, giving him a total of $87,000 for the year, making him by far the overall fundraising leader in the race. In addition to the vast network of support his colleagues on the county board give him, McDonell's money has turned a candidate who has never run a serious race (at least for himself) into a viable candidate for county exec.
Interestingly, Joes Wineke and Parisi trailed in January, with each raising a little more than $20,000. That they trail the other candidates is a bad omen, but I think Parisi should be alright as long as he is able to buy some media, including TV spots. The name-recognition he has in his Assembly district offers a certain insurance that I'm guessing Wineke, who hasn't served in office for many years, lacks.