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Roggensack leads pack in Supreme Court fundraising (UPDATE)

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack on Monday reported having more than three times as much money as her closest challenger heading into next week’s primary election.

A third Supreme Court candidate isn’t even bothering to seek donations anymore.

Roggensack’s financial edge has allowed her to air a television commercial before either of her rivals – Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone and Milwaukee consumer law attorney Vince Megna. The Wisconsin chapter of the conservative group Club for Growth also is running an ad supporting Roggensack, who is generally viewed as a part of the court’s four-justice conservative majority.

Megna has tried to shake up the officially nonpartisan race by declaring himself a Democrat, taking stands on issues and urging the others to do the same. So far, it hasn’t helped him raise money or generate endorsements.

Megna reported no fundraising over the first five weeks of the year. And all the prominent Democratic endorsements so far have gone to Fallone.

Roggensack reported that she had $219,000 cash on hand as of Feb. 4 and had raised more than $201,000 over the reporting period. Fallone had nearly $64,000 on hand and raised nearly $75,000. Megna raised nothing and had just $5,300 cash on hand.

Megna’s lack of fundraising shows that his campaign isn’t resonating, said Roggensack’s adviser Brandon Scholz.

“When a candidate runs for office and there is no financial support, you do have to wonder what the strategy of the campaign is,” Scholz said.

While Megna had no donors, Roggensack got money from 2,265 individuals.

Megna, who has received the fewest endorsements of any of the candidates, said he didn’t know if his campaign strategy to defer fundraising efforts until after the primary will work. He has loaned his campaign $10,000.

Q&A with the candidates for
the Wisconsin Supreme Court

NAME — Ed Fallone

AGE — 48

RESIDES — Whitefish Bay

EDUCATION — Bachelor’s degree in Spanish language and literature from Boston University, 1988. Law degree, Boston University, 1988.

CAREER — Associate professor, Marquette University Law School, 1992 to present; private practice attorney, 1988-present; president, Wisconsin Stem Cell Now; President’s Award, Community Shares of Greater Milwaukee 2010; Steering Committee, Catholic Charities Legal Services for Immigrants 2000-2005; President and Member of Board of Directors, Latino Community Center 2000-2003; Board of Trustees, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee 2000-2003; president, Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association 1996-1997.

PERSONAL — Married, two children

NAME: Vince Megna

AGE: 68

EDUCATION: Law degree, Marquette University Law School, 1973.

CAREER: Private practice attorney specializing in lemon law and consumer protection, 1990-present.

PERSONAL: Married, one son.

NAME — Pat Roggensack

AGE: 72

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in biology, Drake University, 1962; law degree, University of Wisconsin Law School, 1980.

CAREER: Supreme Court Justice, 2003 to present; Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge, 1996-2003; practicing attorney, 1980-1996; past board member of YWCA of Madison, Olbrich Botanical Society, Friends of the Arboretum, A Fund for Women, Highlands Neighborhood Association, Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth

PERSONAL: Married with three children, all now adults

— Associated Press

“I hate asking people for money,” said Megna, who has made his career defending consumers frequently in cases in which they purchase faulty vehicles. “This will be a necessary thing once the primary’s over, undoubtedly.”

Megna lists endorsements from Michael Skwierawski, retired chief judge for Milwaukee County; DeVonna Joy, a lawyer and owner of the Consumer Justice Law Center in Muskego; and Rosemary Shahan, an auto consumer advocate and president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety which is based in California.

Fallone has scored much more prominent backers from Democrats and groups that favor that party, including former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, former U.S. Rep. Dave Obey, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore of Milwaukee, the state AFL-CIO and the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the statewide teachers union.

Fallone spokesman Nate Schwantes said he would have enough money to be competitive, and they were also relying on their backers spreading the word through phone banks and other means less costly than television advertising.

“There’s a large of coalition of regular working folks who are supporting Ed’s campaign,” Schwantes said.

Roggensack’s endorsements include the Milwaukee police and firefighter unions; Wisconsin Right to Life; former state Supreme Court Justices William Callow, Louis Ceci, Donald Steinmetz and Jon Wilcox; and more than 50 county sheriffs.

The top two vote-getters in the primary will face each other in the April 2 general election.

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