Wisconsin: Kagen Drops $180,000 Into Re-Election Effort

Posted October 27, 2008 at 6:45pm

Rep. Steve Kagen (D) reached into his own pockets over the weekend in his fight to hold his 8th district seat.

Kagen loaned his campaign $180,000, according to a Federal Election Commission filing on Saturday.

The freshman Congressman is in a tight re-election race against former state Speaker John Gard (R).

The move came after Gard outraised Kagen in the first two weeks of October, according to FEC reports. As of Oct. 15, Gard had $487,000 on hand compared with Kagen’s $193,000. Gard raised $135,000 compared with Kagen’s $59,000 during the first two weeks of October.

This isn’t the first time that Kagen has looked to his own resources on the campaign trail. In 2006, Kagen, a wealthy allergist, dropped nearly $2.6 million on his campaign to take the open seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Mark Green.

“John Gard is proud of the fact that the majority of his campaign contributions come from people who live in and work and vote in Wisconsin,” Gard spokesman Mark Graul said.

Graul said Gard will not put any of his own money into the campaign.

“John Gard doesn’t have Steve Kagen’s wealth or support from D.C. special interests,” Graul said.

Kagen spokesman Jake Rubin defended his boss’ decision.

“John Gard’s friends in Big Banks, Big Oil and Big Insurance are bankrolling his negative campaign for more of the same policies that have destroyed our economy, while Congressman Kagen is working hard to bring about all the changes families in Northeast Wisconsin need because he is on their side and cannot be bought,” Rubin wrote in an e-mail.