Mary Burke Says She Can’t Self-Fund Campaign

Democratic Candidate For Governor Says She'll Rely Heavily On Traditional Fundraising


Democrat Mary Burke says she won’t be able to self-fund her campaign for governor, saying she does not have that kind of wealth.

When Burke first floated the idea of running for governor, her personal wealth made her an appealing candidate to some Democrats and made others think twice about entering the race. The former Trek executive, whose father founded the company, has not disclosed her net worth, though she did donate more than $400,000 to her campaign in just its first few months.

But Burke says people should not expect her to spend as much as some of Wisconsin’s most famous self-funded candidates.

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“I will put into this race what I can, but I can’t self-fund it,” said Burke. “I’m not a Ron Johnson or a Herb Kohl. I don’t have that type of wealth.”

Johnson contributed nearly $9 million to his successful U.S. Senate campaign in 2010. Former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl gave his campaigns more than $19 million over the course of his political career.

Burke says she’ll be relying on traditional fundraising to get her message out.

“This campaign is going to be about making sure that I can raise the funds from in-state, from the people of Wisconsin, and making sure that the people of Wisconsin are the ones who elect this next governor,” said Burke.

Whether that’s enough to compete with Walker and groups like the Republican Governors Association remains to be seen. In past elections, Democrats could rely on unions to help them win campaigns, but the financial strength of Wisconsin unions has diminished in the wake of Act 10.

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