Spotlight on Wisconsin

Money & Politics Blog: Campaigns embrace new technologies

The other day, the Wisconsin State Journal ran a wire service item about a minor celebrity who “took to social media to announce the birth of her (son).” It said actress Megan Fox on Oct. 17 used her Facebook page to let the world know of this event, which happened three weeks earlier.

How strange that anyone deemed this particular use of social media newsworthy. Tweeting all through a birthing, perhaps, but not a belated Facebook post.

Money & Politics Blog: Congressional candidate cash on rise, too

Jay Heck is clear on who’s to blame — the U.S. Supreme Court. The executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, a nonpartisan group that backs campaign finance reform, says the huge and perhaps record-breaking sums now flowing into Wisconsin’s congressional races owe to the court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United.

Money & Politics Blog: Outside cash flows to hot state races

Forget opinion polling. Ignore endorsements. Never mind how much money the candidates raise. To see which electoral races are truly competitive, look at where the special interests are putting their money.

Or pouring it, as the case may be.

In Wisconsin, the thirstiest race for independent spending is between Tommy Thompson and Tammy Baldwin for the state’s open Senate seat.

Money & Politics Blog: Cash is key in Ryan-Zerban (who?) race

Wisconsin journalist Joe Tarr, writing about his experiences at the Democratic National Convention, recalled running into congressional candidate Rob Zerban at a nightclub in Charlotte. It was a cheerful scene, with dart-playing and jostling.

But Tarr, seeing Zerban happy, couldn’t help thinking, “Poor guy. Does he know what he’s up against? Does he think he has a chance?’ ”

The answer to both questions is yes.

Money & Politics Blog: Code changes tied to donor group axed

It was an easy conclusion to leap to. A recent Wisconsin State Journal report on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal, since aborted, to deep-six building codes requiring electrical safety devices prompted immediate allegations of pay-to-play.