Republican Party Can’t Fight Facts on Campaign Spending

Sep 19, 2010

 Underdog Feingold Has Been Outspent By His Opponents in Every Election

MADISON — For years, the Republican Party has invented a myth that Russ Feingold has outspent his opponents in his three election victories- 1992, 1998, and 2004.

One big problem. It’s not true.

Unfortunately, some in the media have chosen to buy the GOP myth; use funny math, and ignore the facts.

The fact is, Feingold has been outspent by his opponents in every race he has run. Feingold has also been outspent by his opponents in total. And this year, multimillionaire plastics salesman Ron Johnson is planning on spending $15 million of his family fortune to do the same in an effort to buy an election seat with his family fortune. Johnson is also benefiting from TV attacks ads from out-of-state corporate special interests.

Here are the facts:


In 1992, Feingold’s opposition in the Democratic Party primary- Joe Checota and Jim Moody- spent $4,986,780.78. In the general election, incumbent Bob Kasten spent $5,427,163.00.

Feingold spent $1,990,488.00 total against both his Democratic primary opponents and his general election opponent.

The Math:

Opponents $10,413,943.78

Feingold     $1,990,488.00


In 1998, Feingold’s opponent Congressman Mark Neumann spent $4,373,953.00. Feingold spent $3,846,089.00.

Neumann was also aided by millions of dollars of outside independent expenditures for TV ads attacking Senator Feingold.  As the Washington Post reported on October 31, 1998, “Feingold has been pummeled by millions of dollars worth of negative advertising by the Republican Party, anti-abortion forces and just about any other group seeking his ouster.”

The Math:

Opponents        Well over $5 million

Feingold            $3,846,089.00


In 2004, Feingold’s three Republican opponents spent $11,645,443.00 attacking Feingold.

Russ Darrow spent $4,826,619.00, Bob Welch spent $1,276,737.00, and Feingold general election opponent, Tim Michels, spent $5,542,087.00.

The Math:

Opponents            $11,645,443.00 

Feingold              $9,239,908

Even if one was to include Feingold’s spending before his GOP opponents entered the race, Feingold was still outspent $11,645,443.00 to $10,977,339.3.



In total, Feingold’s opponents have spent $26,433,339.78 trying to defeat Feingold and this doesn’t include all the independent expenditures TV ads that have been spent by outside groups.  

Feingold has spent $16,813,916.31 against his opponents, while his opponents have spent in excess of $26,433,339.78.


The Math:

Opponents            $26,433,339.78  

Feingold              $16,813,916.31



As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on September 1, “First-time GOP candidate Ron Johnson is dramatically outspending Senate Democrat Russ Feingold on television in Wisconsin.”

The newspaper also reported “The spending gap grows a bit bigger (to more than 3-1) when you include the $300,000 spent on TV recently by American Action Network, a national conservative group that has run an ad attacking Feingold.”

Last week, another out-of-state corporate special interests group, the Club for Growth, started running $170,000 in TV attack ads against Feingold on Johnson’s behalf as well. In addition, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has reserved $470,000 in TV advertising to run attack ads against Feingold in the last week of the election.