Tomorrow the final campaign finance reports for candidates for municipal office are due, meaning we'll get a glimpse at the Cieslewicz and Soglin campaign warchests going into the last week before the general election.
In the last report, which was filed six days before the primary on February 15, Soglin's records showed the former mayor had raised much more than the incumbent during the same period and had spent three times as much. As a result, Cieslewicz finished the reporting period with about $50,000 on hand, compared to Soglin's $37,000.
What the report tomorrow should show us is how the primary and the protests have affected fundraising for both candidates. I would guess that Soglin's triumphant primary only mobilized more contributions, and that both candidates visible opposition to Gov. Walker over the past month and a half have helped both their fundraising efforts.
The question I have is whether Cieslewicz's second place finish helped him elicit contributions by convincing supporters that they were needed. Unlike a race between a Democrat and a Republican, there are probably quite a few supporters of Dave who feel that the differences between him and Soglin aren't great enough to merit an investment.
Behind the scenes there are always groups and individuals in government, business and activism that have formed relationships with the incumbent and stand to lose if he goes down. But I don't get the sense from talking to my fellow Madisonian that even the rather engaged voter thinks the result of this election will make or break the city. A lot of people seem genuinely undecided and many more seem to have only a slight preference for one of the candidates.
Hopefully tomorrow's finance report should fill in some of the blanks in my read of this race.
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