It cost candidates in the city of Milwaukee $50,479.49 to run for office in 1908 with the primary election law in operation. It cost but $8,280.93 in 1898 when the primary law was not in operation. The difference, $42,198.56, it will be conceded, is a heavy tax to place upon candidates for office. It is true there were more candidates running for office in 1908 than in 1898, but that is merely another illustration of the operations of the new statute. So far as the operations of the corrupt practices act are concerned it may be said that when that law was new it was respected and obeyed by a large percentage of the candidates for office. The only material change made in the law since 1897 has been to require the district attorney to demand statements from candidates who have failed to comply with its provisions after a certain period.
As an indication of the effect of the primary election law on the expenses of candidates for office the following tables compiled from the records in the offices of the city clerk of Milwaukee, the county clerk of Milwaukee county, and the secretary of state, will serve. The year 1904 was the last convention year in which candidates were nominated under the old Milwaukee primary law in both city and county, and 1906 was the first primary election year. It should be explained that one important statement, that of Mayor Rose, has been lost from the files for the year 1904, although there is little doubt that such a statement was rendered at the time.
The same abnormal increase in the expenses of candidates, is shown in the statements filed with the county clerk, from which the following table is made up:
CITY OF MILWAUKEE. All Admininstrative
The excess of the amount expended in 1906 over that of 1908 is explained by two statements, those of Francis McGovern and F. X. Boden, candidates for district attorney. Mr. McGovern rendered an account amounting to $16,699,85, and Mr. Boden's statement placed his expenses at $15,252.58. In 1904, Mr. McGovern, running for the same office, spent $1,086.90. Deducting these two statements from the total, there still remains $37,920.45, as the expenses of the other candidates in the first primary year.
ALL COUNTY OFFICERS. 1898 103 statements $14,887.91 1900 67 statements 24,952.58 1902 53 statements 27,792.14 1904 57 statements 18,456.85 1906 95 statements 69,873.03 1908 87 statements 46,308.87
One of the most important offices of the county is that of sheriff, and it is one that is much sought after. In the last three campaigns the candidates for that office expended the following amounts in their attempts to secure the nomination and election:
1904, the last convention year, $3,075.00; 1906, the first primary year, $6,715.58; 1908, $9,011,86.
That the increase in the amount expended is not always due to a multiplication of candidates is shown by the abstract of statements of candidates for mayor filed with the city clerk which follows. David S. Rose, for instance, has been a candidate for that office at each election during the entire ten year period, and he has been the successful candidate each time except in 1906, when he was defeated by Sherman M. Becker. Mayor Rose's statement for 1906, the last convention year, can not he found, although he says he filed it according to law, but the fact that this veteran candidate, one who is acknowledged to have a large personal following in the city, found it necessary to increase his expenses under the primary law is clearly shown and it is significant. Another significant fact is that so many candidatcs have entered the race in 1906 and 1908 with ample funds and a willingness to spend liberally. Here is a list of the mayoralty candidates for ten years with the amounts expended by each:
Turning now to the expense statements filed with the secretary of state since the corrupt practices act went into effect in 1898, the same climb of expenses upward is noticed. No account is taken of the few candidates for the legislature who are required by law to file their statements at Madison, the examination being communed to state officers, members of congress, and United States senators.FOR MAYOR. 1898 David S. Rose (D) $933.25 William Geuder (R) 578.25 H. J. Baumgaertner (R) 63.10 H. H. Steinmnan (D) nothing [total] $1,574.00 1900 David S. Rose (D) $1,877.55 H. J. Baumgaertner (R) 1,197.35 Frederic Heath (S. D.) 6.50 [total] $3,081.40 1902 David S. Rose (D) $1,291.65 Charles Anson (R) 675.00 [total] $1,966.65 1904 David S. Rose (D) no statement Guy D. Goff (R) $600.00 A. A. Clas, by petition 27.25 Victor L. Berger (S. D.) nothing [total] $627.25 1906 David S. Rose (D) $2,027.10 W. G. Bruce (D) 1,662.03 S. M. Becker 9,207.91 J. Vierthaler (S.L.) 1,784.62 W. A. Arnold (S.L.) nothing [total] $14,735.21 1908 David S. Rose (D) $5,223.89 W. H. Graebner (D) 2,488.23 Louis A. Dahlman 7,900.69 T. J. Pringle 6,141.02 John T. Kelly (R) 3,205.80 G. A. Zilgitt (D) 535.00 Emil Seidel (S.D.) 5.50 Thomas Gardner (Pro.) nothing [total] $25,500.13
The decrease in the cost to candidates for state offices in the campaign of 1908 when compared with 1906 is explained by the fact that the state officers were all in the field for renomination and re-election, and, as it has bean customary in this state to recognize the right to a second term, there was little opposition to the old officers with the single exception of the candidate for insurance commissioner. Still, the expenses that year were more than double the amount reported in 1902.1898 Governor $5,821.04 Lieutenant Governor 1,216.75 Secretary of State 2,327.72 Treasurer 1,472.80 Attorney General 815.50 Insurance Commissioner 169.87 [total] State ticket $11,823.71 Congressional ticket $19,437.75 1899 United States senate $6,760.60 1900 Governor $6,780.93 Lieutenant Governor 795.00 Secretary of State 1,166.04 Treasurer 704.49 Attorney General 648.26 Insurance Commissioner 1,176.53 [total] State ticket $11,271.07 Congressional ticket $19,834.88 1902 Governor $7,184.61 Lieutenant Governor 1,073.53 Secretary of State 3,738.28 Treasurer 2,402.75 Attorney General 1,181.15 Insurance Commissioner 2,026.74 [total] State ticket $17,607.06 Congressional ticket $24,276.20 1903 United States senate nothing 1904 Governor $8,061.74 Lieutenant Governor 1,258.60 Secretary of State 4,106.20 Treasurer 3,375.50 Attorney General 1,015.85 Insurance Commissioner 4,583.78 [total] State ticket $22,601.67 Congressional ticket $23,538.46 1905 United States senate $262.87 1906 Governor $17,407.25 Lieutenant Governor 15,031.46 Secretary of State 3,317.07 Treasurer 8,792.35 Attorney General 4,801.58 Insurance Commissioner 1,838.33 [total] State ticket $51,188.04 Congressional ticket $43,327.78 1907 United States senate $6,187.89 1908 Governor $10,854.70 Lieutenant Governor 4,006.42 Secretary of State 907.35 Treasurer 1,659.70 Attorney General 1,023.92 Insurance Commissioner 4,561.09 [total] State ticket $23,013.19 Congressional ticket $50,417.79 1909 United States senate $192,977.59