On Wednesday I noted Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave Westlake had a major announcement planned for January 14, 2010. At the time, readers of this blog opined on what they felt Westlake’s announcement would be, but none guessed Westlake would announce he was suspending all his campaign’s fundraising. Instead of formal campaign fundraisers, Westlake’s campaign will raise money through the sale of blaze orange t-shirts on Westlake’s campaign website.
Some conservatives have reacted to Westlake’s announcement with criticism, while others are mocking his decision. As Christian Schneider of WPRI notes, Westlake may say his decision to suspend his campaign’s fundraising amounts to Westlake taking a principled stand against the way campaigns are financed, but I’m inclined to believe Westlake’s decision was nothing more than a calculation on his part, based on two factors. I’m willing to bet Westlake’s decision came about as the direct result of lackluster fundraising, especially in the face of news that Terrence Wall, the other Republican candidate, raised approximately $180,000 for the Republican primary from donors not named Terrence Wall. By suspending formal fundraising by his campaign, Westlake will also be able to cement himself as the “Tea Party” candidate, in contrast to Wall, who certainly seems to be the “establishment” Republican candidate.
Regardless of the reasons behind Dave Westlake’s decision not to actively raise funds for his Senate campaign, one thing’s for certain: Dave Westlake will not be Wisconsin’s next United States Senator.