Candidates for Court of Appeals spar over campaign contributions
When Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard pledged to refuse campaign contributions from political action committees in his run for the state Court of Appeals, many accepted it as a breath of fresh air after some nasty recent Supreme Cour...
When Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard pledged to refuse campaign contributions from political action committees in his run for the state Court of Appeals, many accepted it as a breath of fresh air after some nasty recent Supreme Court races.
Blanchard's opponents for the appeals court, not so much.
La Crosse County Circuit Judge Ramona Gonzalez, who is one of three candidates hoping to survive the Feb. 16 primary election, said that Blanchard should have checked first with her and with Richland County Circuit Judge Edward Leineweber, before saying in his advertising that he was the only candidate who pledged not to take PAC money.
Nobody in the race has taken any special interest money, she said.
"He's using (the issue) as a way to appeal to voters' anger and fears of special interests," Gonzalez said. "It distracts voters from the relative qualifications of the candidates."
But Blanchard said that both of his opponents knew early on about his position concerning PAC money and could have joined him in it. It wasn't until a candidate forum on Feb. 5 before the Portage County Bar Association, Blanchard said, that Gonzalez let it be known she wouldn't take PAC money.
"I'm glad she's joining us in that," he said.
Blanchard has also pledged not to take any individual campaign contributions larger than $1,000, well below the legal limit of $2,500.
Leineweber said he would decide on a case-by-case basis whether to accept contributions from PACs or from individuals giving to the legal limit, if any are offered.
"I have not been blessed with either," he said.
Despite the disagreements over funding sources, the candidates have raised similar amounts of money, according to the latest state campaign finance reports. Blanchard had $8,985 on hand at the beginning of the last reporting period, while Gonzalez had $8,089 and Leineweber had $6,711.
Copyright (c) 2010, The Wisconsin State Journal/Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.