They are on the front lines, and they are in trouble:
Wisconsin Republicans are being far outspent by unions and other far left groups.
Salena Zito writes at RCP:
Wisconsin has what can only be described as a screwy recall law; get enough signatures on a petition and you can trigger new elections.
Democrats hope to use this law to undo the GOP’s statehouse majority.
Recall elections could begin as early as June for 16 targeted Wisconsin state senators — eight Republicans who voted in favor of the law that ends most collective bargaining powers for public-employee unions, and eight Democrats who ran and hid in Illinois in what turned out to be a failed attempt to keep GOP lawmakers from voting on the measure.
When Republicans won big in 2010, Wisconsin was the best example of that midterm wave and the most significant warning to President Obama’s re-election campaign: Wisconsin’s three-term Democrat U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold went down and the GOP took the governor’s mansion, two more congressional seats and state legislative majorities.
All in a state that Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama won as Democrat presidential candidates.
While Wisconsin’s story fell off the front page, the left — fueled by unions, the Democratic Governors Association and MoveOn.org — has begun a multimillion-dollar TV campaign to support the audacious recall effort.
The only Republican strategy — and money — machine that really seems to understand the potential effect is the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) headed by Ed Gillespie, former national GOP chairman. The RSLC is so worried that it is making an unusual mid-cycle investment of money that it could have used in 2012.
Unions and the left are far outspending pro-business interests and the right on recall ads.
Democrats are wise to see more at stake than a single state Senate majority and a new political map that could unseat two freshmen Republican congressmen. They know this is the first battle of 2012 — their version of 2010’s surprise election of Scott Brown, R-Mass., who won a blue-state U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Democrat Ted Kennedy.
Republicans won in Massachusetts because conservatives around the country poured money into Brown’s campaign; he raised a million bucks a day and couldn’t spend it all.
His opponent, Democrat Margaret Coakley, was strapped and forced to beg money from Washington lobbyists in the race’s last 10 days, which Brown quickly used in a commercial against her.
Massachusetts Democrats got ambushed. Will Republicans let that happen to them in Wisconsin?
This will have a chilling effect on every other state dealing with public-employee collective bargaining or pensions in the next two years — which is just about all of them.
If Walker and other governors cannot tame public pensions and union contracts, you will see tax hikes enacted under freshmen GOP governors across the country in the next few years. It is simple math.
You can donate, here. It’s important that Wisconsin Republicans get out of state donations, because instate donations have been suppressed due to union threats.
Robert Costa, NRO: Wisconsin Fight Goes to Court:
Pressure is mounting on the seven-member high court to weigh in. If they do, the bill risks being overturned. For the moment, judicial conservatives hold a 4–3 edge. But that could flip come April 5, when incumbent justice David Prosser, a former GOP legislator, battles JoAnne Kloppenburg, an environmental lawyer and veteran state attorney, for a ten-year term.
… Prosser’s ability to respond to the rising interest has been hamstrung. He, along with Kloppenburg, is the recipient of public funds — $300,000 for the general election, to be exact — and both have pledged not to spend a dime more. “Looking back, that was one decision they should not have done,” says one state GOP strategist.
The Greater Wisconsin Committee, a leftist organizing group with deep union ties, has funneled $3 million into anti-Prosser advertising, taking relentlessly to the airwaves. “They are the Left’s biggest political player in the state,” says Brett Healy, the president of the MacIver Institute, a Wisconsin-based think tank. “They run the ads that no one else wants to run.”
Indeed. The GWC is airing ads that tie Prosser to the budget bill. “Prosser equals Walker” is the usual theme. But those political attacks are fluff compared with the group’s latest smear, a dimly-lit, creepy spot that casts Prosser as soft on pedophilia. That ad alleges that Prosser, as a local district attorney three decades ago, failed to properly prosecute a Catholic priest accused of molesting several boys. Prosser, according to those who know him, is said to be furious about the ad, angry with its inaccuracies and how it sullies his name.
At a debate late last week, Prosser, his displeasure barely concealed, urged Kloppenburg to ask the GWC to pull the ad. “It is the worst ad that has ever been run in a judicial campaign,” he asserted. Kloppenburg would not budge. “Like it or not, third parties have a right to run ads of their choosing,” she replied.Prosser fired back: “If some third party ran an ad supporting me and attacking you, and it was despicable, and it was a lie, I would stand up and ask that the ad be pulled,” he argued. “You are not willing to do that, even at the request of the victim in the ad?”
Prosser noted that Troy Merryfield, one of the abuse victims, has spoken out against the clip, and in support of Prosser’s decision to not prosecute at the time.
Justice Prosser’s website is here.
Hat tip Charles B.