This morning, Chris Hayes was joined by a panel of guests to discuss Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall election, which takes place on Tuesday—including the massive flood of outside money that’s helping Gov. Scott Walker.
Hayes noted that Walker, the embattled Republican incumbent, has a huge advantage in campaign funds over his Democratic challenger Tom Barrett, outspending him ten to one. Meanwhile, outside money is buoying Walker’s campaign, with 62% of his campaign funds coming from out of state (compared to 26% for Barrett). And that’s just the money going directly to the campaigns of both candidates—it doesn’t account independent expenditures made by outside groups, which also appear to have benefited Walker.
The watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign estimates that outside groups have spent $21.5 million on the race, with the top spender being the Republican Governors Association’s Right Direction Wisconsin political action committee, which has spent $8.7 million.
Why the flood of outside spending? Walker’s effort to weaken labor unions made him a hero with conservatives across the country. They understand that a recall defeat for him would deal a major setback to ongoing efforts to achieve similar results in other states—and to the conservative movement as a whole.
It’s not clear, said Hayes, that progressives similarly understood the stakes.
“The Republican Party, the conservative establishment, particularly the U.S. Chamber of Commerce types, view this as a defining battle,” the host concluded. “They view this as they cannot let Scott Walker lose, because [of] what it says about this balance of power. I don’t think there’s been from outside the state this same focus from progressive groups.”