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Baldwin Beats Senate GOP Challengers in Q3 Fund-raising

Baldwin Beats Senate GOP Challengers in Q3 Fund-raising

U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Tammy Baldwin announced Thursday that she had raised $738,000 in the third quarter, besting at least one Republican challenger in what will likely be one of the nation's hardest-fought political races in 2012.

Running for retiring Wisconsin senator Herb Kohl's seat, Baldwin raised $625,000 last month (she formally launched her campaign September 6), more than twice the amount reported by Republican candidate Mark Neumann, who last week announced a $300,000 haul in September.

Denis Dison, vice president of communications for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a longtime supporter of Baldwin's political career, said Thursday that the high percentage of small contributions to Baldwin's campaign -- 93% of donors gave $100 or less -- shows a promising level of grassroots support, "which is as important as the big third-quarter number itself," he said.

"We've been saying all along that Tammy will have the financial support to go toe-to-toe with her Republican opponents," Dison said. "Now that it's all but confirmed that she'll be the Democratic nominee, it will be really important for her to continue raising money to counter the barrage of negative ads that are about to come her way from the other side."

Baldwin has yet to face a Democratic primary challenger in the race. Meanwhile, GOP candidates vying for the Republican nomination abound: Neumann, known for his social conservatism, faces four-term former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson, who filed to run last week, as well as Jeff Fitzgerald, the Republican speaker of the state Assembly, who announced his candidacy Tuesday.

Neither Thompson nor Fitzgerald is expected to release campaign finance numbers, as they both had only recently declared their senatorial bids.

Months prior to her formal announcement, Baldwin had raised $502,000 in the second quarter; she reported $1.53 million in cash on hand Thursday, up from $1.1 million reported in Q2.

"We are honored by the powerful outpouring of support for our campaign to stand up for the middle class, fight for jobs, and make sure the voices of the people are heard in Washington above the powerful special interests," Baldwin, one of four openly gay members of Congress, said in a Thursday statement. "It's clear our message is connecting deeply with voters, and I'm proud to have the support of thousands of people hungry to support a fighter who will stand up for them."

On Thursday, The Hillreported that Baldwin has hired Karin Johanson, former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and a principal at Dewey Square Group, as campaign manager.

"She has intimate knowledge of every district. She knows what works and what doesn't because she's been there before," Rahm Emanuel said of Johanson in 2006 when he was chairman of the DCCC. "I'm a very obsessive person, and I give her six things to do and she does seven."

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