MADISON (AP) - Republican supporters and Gov. Scott Walker spent more than twice as much as his recall election challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Democratic backers, a report on the race released Wednesday found.
Of the $81 million spent on the June 5 recall, Walker and his allies spent $58.7 million while Barrett and Democrats put in $22 million, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said.
Total spending obliterated the previous record-high for a statewide office of $37.4 million in the 2010 governor's race in which Walker also defeated Barrett.
Walker won the recall by 7 points.
"A ground-up grassroots movement was the engine behind Governor Walker's historic recall campaign, fueled by the fact that over 77 percent of our contributions were 50 dollars or less," said his campaign spokesman Tom Evenson.
While Walker got many small-dollar donations, he also got massive influxes of cash never before seen in Wisconsin state politics thanks to a law that allows recall targets to raise unlimited amounts.
Those big-dollar donations included $510,000 from Diane Hendricks, owner of ABC Supply in Beloit, $500,000 from Republican financier Bob Perry of Texas, and $260,000 from David Humphreys of Tamko Building Products in Missouri.
Spokesmen for Barrett and the Democratic Party did not immediately respond.
The Republican Governors Association led all spending by outside groups, putting in $9.4 million on behalf of Walker. The liberal Greater Wisconsin Committee, which ran attack ads against Walker, was second highest at $6.7 million.
Wisconsin for Falk, a coalition of union groups that backed Kathleen Falk in the Democratic primary, came in third by spending $4.5 million.
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign report finds that all 15 recall races in 2011 and this year, including Walker's, cost $137 million. The campaign describes itself as a nonpartisan watchdog group.
Of the 15 races, only three incumbent Republican state senators were tossed from office. That gave Democrats a slim 17-16 majority in the state Senate.
In all 15 races, Republicans and their supporters outspent the other side $84.5 million to $52.6 million.
Separately, the League of Women Voters on Wednesday recommended there be more training for poll workers after observers noted widespread confusion at the polls during the recall.
Its observations were based on reports from more than 150 volunteers who were sent to more than 420 polls across Wisconsin on the day Walker and five other Republicans faced recall elections.
The League report says election officials were confused at many polling stations about what types of documents voters needed to show to prove residence to register on election day.
Those requirements changed under a new law in effect for the recalls.
The League also said that some election observers were very aggressive and intimidated election officials and voters.
The report recommends a number of improvements to be made before the November presidential election.
Kevin Kennedy, director of the Government Accountability Board which oversees elections, said the League's report was helpful. He said it was no surprise that clerks and poll workers needed additional training given all the recent changes to the law.
Kennedy said the recommendations will be taken into consideration as it plans for the fall election.
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