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What $30 Million Can Buy You

11:04 AM, Aug 8, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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At least $30 million has already been spent in total on the Wisconsin state senate recall elections and that number may rise to an eye-popping $40 million when it's all over. To give some perspective on just how crazy that is, that's about 10 times more than all expenditures on state legislative races in 2010 and about 7 times more than the spending on the state supreme court race earlier this year. In 2010, Russ Feingold and Ron Johnson spent about $35 million on the U.S. Senate race, but that was spread around the entire state, not concentrated in just one quarter of all senate districts. With all that cash, you can buy a whole lot of attack ads running pretty much nonstop.

Here's just a taste of the ads attacking Republican state senators:

And here are a couple of ads attacking their Democratic opponents:

What will the lucky winner get in return? The majority of one half of one third of state government for a little more than a year. The winners of the recall elections tomorrow will have to defend their seats again in November 2012 to win a full 4-year state senate term. But both sides clearly seem to think the recall elections are important--psychologically, if nothing else--in the run-up to next year's likely election to recall Governor Scott Walker.

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