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It took asking twice, but state Senate candidates Pfaff, Kapanke did finally address reeling in spending in Wisconsin politics

Rick Solem

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A lot, of late, has been made about the money flowing into the Wisconsin state Senate race between Brad Pfaff and Dan Kapanke for the 32nd District.

In a debate Tuesday, the two were asked — twice — about campaign finance reform in the state of Wisconsin. They were asked twice, because the first time, neither really answered.

On Kapanke’s first go round, he argued a number of things instead of getting money out of politics in the state.

“The Supreme Court has ruled, recently, as far as federally is concerned, about campaign finance,” Kapanke started off. “And, it’s a Second Amendment. I just think that we need transparency, more than finance reform. We need transparency and where this money’s coming from and who’s receiving it.”

It’s unclear where “a Second Amendment,” came from. Regardless, despite arguing more transparency is needed, Kapanke went on to discuss where some of Pfaff’s money allegedly comes from.

“My opponent has over $800,000 that he’s received from the Democratic Party, which has in turn, received it from the governor of Illinois and a doctor from California,” Kapanke said. “In his last reporting period, only 6% — 6% of his money has come from within the 32nd District. On the other hand, 65% of mine has come within the district.”

Pfaff then fired back at Kapanke but, again, didn’t talk much about campaign finance reform.

“That’s really rich coming from my opponent, who has, we all know, that the Koch brothers and Americans for Prosperity have worked very closely, throughout his political career,” Pfaff said.

Back in June, Kapanke called Americans for Prosperity “grassroots” after receiving its endorsement. In 2018, that “grassroots” effort received 85% of its total contributions — $81 million — from just two donors.

So, after the panel of journalists went around the horn again with questions, Pfaff and Kapanke were re-asked about getting money out of Wisconsin’s politics.

And, despite his opponent having nearly $1 million to his $275,000, Kapanke wasn’t really on board with reeling in the spending.

“If there is some finance reform that is proposed, that makes sense, I would certainly be open to taking a look at it, but again, I think transparency is the biggest thing,” Kapanke said.

As for Pfaff, not on the defensive as much the second time around, he did address the question.

“We need to look at what we can do together — both political parties coming together — recognizing the fact that elections cost too much money,” Pfaff said. “There’s too much money spent, right now, in politics. I can admit that.”

Watch the debate below:

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jenny

    October 21, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    I’m more concerned about reeling in spending by GOVERNMENT! At least this campaign money isn’t being stolen from the people that earned it.

  2. Avatar

    Joe Heim

    October 22, 2020 at 10:57 am

    Rick, thanks and congratulations on the followup question to the issue of campaign finance reform. They did duck it the first time,,,,,less so the second.

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