State assembly campaign finance reports show strengths, weaknesses

It’s time to follow the money for state assembly members. I mainly looked at the first tier suburban districts surrounding the City of Milwaukee. These districts are predominately represented by Republicans. There are signs that some shifting could take place with the November 2008 elections.

SE WI Assembly districts

The Assembly representatives are elected every even calendar year for two-year terms.

$8,010.44 – 12 – Frederick Kessler (D)
$4,191.61 – 14 – Leah Vukmir (R)
$30,169.87 – 21 – Mark Honadel (R)
$272,925.24 – 22 – Sheldon Wasserman (D) ($2,500 in obligations)
$8,096.82 – 23 – Jim Ott (R) ($26,520.00 in loans)
$19,805.75 – 24 – Suzanne Jeskewitz (R)
$7,552.60 – 33 – Scott Newcomer (R) (Loans of $41,471.49)
$21,063.26 – 58 – Pat Strachota (R)
No electronic report – 59 – Daniel LeMahieu (R)
$33,791.32 – 60 – Mark Gottlieb (R)
$76,438.68 – 82 – Jeffry Stone (R) ($9,818.71 obligated)
Unreadable – 83 – Scott Gunderson (R)
$104,315.73 – 84 – Mark Gundrum (R)
$11,845.23 – 98 – Rich Zipperer (R) ($26,500 in loans)
$13,458.97 – 99 – Don Pridemore (R) ($7,106.13 in loans)

In general I was surprised by the low balances. $30,000 to $50,000 seems about right to maintain a strong defense. I was also surprised by the number of candidates that still had loans on their books. It’s not uncommon for a fresh face to loan money to their own campaign, but it should come back to them within a couple of years.

Winners? Sheldon Wasserman and Mark Gundrum. Democrat Wasserman is taking on State Senate Republican Alberta Darling in the 8th senate district. Darling’s account showed $221,702.26. With Wasserman leading the fund race it looks to be an interesting match. He already has a Web site for his campaign. There’s a link for a map of the 8th district if you are interested.

Mark Grundrum is a New Berlin Republican and the Assembly Assistant Majority Leader. A popular politician, Gundrum is training for deployment to Iraq.

The lowest balance on this list belongs to Republican Leah Vukmir from Wauwatosa. Her 14th Assembly district is divided equally between Republicans and Democrats. State Senator Jim Sullivan (D-Wauwatosa) beat Republican Tom Reynolds in a divided 5th senate district during the last contest. Expect a strong Democrat challenger for Vukmir in the 14th towards the end of the summer.