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Feingold Outraised Johnson, but Wisconsin Candidates Close in Cash on Hand

Feingold raised more money than Johnson in the third quarter but lags slightly behind in cash on hand. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson will report a third quarter haul of $1.4 million to the Federal Elections Commission on Thursday, his campaign announced. That’s a million dollars less than former Sen. Russ Feingold’s campaign announced on Oct. 1.  

Johnson ends the period with slightly more cash on hand — $3.5 million to Feingold’s $3.4 million.  

“Ron Johnson continues to earn the support of Wisconsinites because he is a citizen legislator who tells it like it is and works hard for our state every day,” campaign spokesman Brian Reisinger said Thursday.  

In a statement last week, when Feingold's campaign released its fundraising total for the quarter, campaign manager Tom Russell said, "Tens of thousands of Wisconsinites have given their support to Russ Feingold's grassroots campaign because they know Russ is ready to fight for working families and the middle class."  

Johnson's fundraising slipped from the second quarter, when he raised over $2 million. Feingold raised $2.3 million last quarter.  

In this competitive Senate race, fundraising and campaign financing has become a central part of the political rhetoric, not just the political strategy.  

Republicans have attacked Feingold as a hypocrite for the disproportionate amount of money his Progressives United PAC spent on overhead and staffing, compared to federal campaigns. Democrats have maintained that Progressives United is not a super PAC, and was instead an advocacy organization that pushed for campaign finance changes.  

Feingold co-authored the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that put limits on federal campaign spending. Earlier this year, Feingold proposed a “Badger Pledge” to keep super PAC money out of his rematch with Johnson, but the incumbent has not accepted. Republicans have been eager to hit Feingold for backing down from his commitment in previous campaigns to raise the majority of his money from Wisconsin. Feingold has said that standard no longer holds up in a post-Citizens United world. His campaign touted that he received contributions from all 72 of Wisconsin's counties in the third quarter. Johnson's campaign said it raised the majority of its money in the third-quarter in Wisconsin.  

Meanwhile, Democrats have attacked Johnson over an FEC complaint that alleges Johnson received a $10 million payout from his plastics company after he loaned his 2010 campaign $9 million.  

A Marquette Law School poll released on Sept. 30 showed Feingold leading Johnson 56 percent to 30 percent — a significant widening of his 5-point margin in August. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rates the contest Tossup . Related:

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