Sen. Schultz not worried about challenger's fundraising edge - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Sen. Schultz not worried about challenger's large fundraising edge

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RICHLAND CENTER (WKOW) -- Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) hasn't even started raising money for 2014, but the man who's challenging him in a Republican primary already has more than $116,000 on hand.

Senate District 17, tucked away in the southwest corner of Wisconsin, is one of the most rural districts in the entire state.  But its becoming clear that even out here big money politics is the new reality.

Sen. Schultz spent Tuesday afternoon helping a constituent with a traffic noise problem at his house along Hwy. 80.  Sen. Schultz says this type of work is his focus in this non-election year, not raising money for 2014.

"I'm gonna deal with the campaign when that time comes up and I'm not gonna be baited or bullied into a campaign prematurely and break a promise that I made to my constituents that they were gonna be first," said Sen. Schultz.

But while Sen. Schultz works with 17th District voters, his primary challenger is taking money from them - lots of it.

In the first six months of 2013, Rep. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) raised over $94,000 to just $684 for Sen. Schultz.

"Obviously Howard has worked very hard at raising money since February and has been very successful," said Sen. Schultz.  "And I'm willing to concede he has cornered the market on contributions from Waukesha County and other southeastern Wisconsin counties."

Marklein, who did not return our calls for this story, brought in close to $30,000 from outside the district.  But he also managed to raise about $60,000 within the boundaries of the 17th.

Still, Sen. Schultz says he won't worry about fundraising until next February at the earliest.

"I don't know that I'm gonna run again," said Sen. Schultz.  "But I believe sincerely that good government is the best politics and when the time comes for politics to play a role they'll pretty much work themselves out."

Sen. Schultz has been criticized by some Republicans for bucking the party on some if its most high profile legislative initiatives since 2011, including Act 10 and the mining bill. 

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