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Liberal complaints about Walker's money don't hold water

A protester affiliated with the "Occupy Wall Street" protests stands with a US dollar bill taped over his mouth in Zuccotti Park in New York, on Monday, Oct. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton)

As much as Democrats are going to want to make today's recall an issue about financing from shady outside organizations, they can't.

Conservative and Republican groups like Americans for Prosperity and the National Rifle Association supporting Scott Walker in this recall election have thrown $16 million into the race. But progressive and Democratic groups have nearly matched that dollar-for-dollar, with $14 million from groups like Planned Parenthood, MoveOn.org, and a number of labor groups.

Where does the big difference in funds between Walker and Barrett exist? In individual donations.

According to the Associated Press, Walker has made history by raising an astounding $31 million from sympathetic conservatives from across Wisconsin and across the country. Barrett drew only 9,282 individual donations over $100 compared to the 60,344 individual donations over $100 Walker has collected.

Democrats are crying foul, complaining that much of that $31 million comes from out of state donors. That's true, but so what? Did Barrett not have the same opportunity to draw in funds from Democrats outside Wisconsin? Barrett raised funds from out of state, just not nearly as much as Scott Walker did and so Dems are whining.  Likewise, the Wisconsin GOP helped Walker with $693,000 while the Wisconsin Democratic Party only ponied up $83,000 to help Barrett... but I suppose that's Walker's fault as well...?

In reality, liberal Democrats and their outspoken opposition to Walker's bold policies probably did more to boost his fundraising than anything the GOP ever did.  In essence, they are merely complaining that Americans don't agree with them.

Scott Walker walloped his Democratic challenger in fundraising, but unless he pulls out a sound victory today, Democrats can still claim some victory. With the clear money advantage, Walker should emerge from this election as the clear winner, they'll argue. I'd agree with that but with one caveat: this is not any normal election. The small number of undecided voters going into today's election is proof of that. This election was won and lost months ago when protesters stormed the state capitol in Madison and Wisconsin voters decided how they really felt about Scott Walker's budget policies.

In such a heated election with a clear political divide, money has significantly less influence over votes.

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