After a year that saw Republican governors engage in high-profile fights with unionized state employees, the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) announced Tuesday that it raised $20 million in 2011.
The DGA, the Democratic Party group that raises and spends money to elect Democratic governors, topped its fundraising in recent years with similarly few gubernatorial races. Last year saw four races, with Democrats winning in Kentucky and West Virginia and losing in Mississippi and Louisiana. In 2007, which saw three gubernatorial contests, the DGA raised $12.7 million.
The 2011 haul still puts the DGA far behind its GOP counterpart. The Republican Governors Association, which typically outpaces the DGA in fundraising, announced in July that it had raised $22.1 million in the first six months of 2011.
The DGA spent much of its fundraising efforts highlighting the controversial labor policies of newly elected Republican governors, who riled Democratic activists by seeking to roll back collective bargaining rights and alter pension programs for unionized state employees. In its fundraising pitches, the DGA focused on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
If 2011 was a year of fighting between Democratic activists and Republican governors, that fight will come to a head in 2012, as activists and Walker are both girding for an election to recall him from the Wisconsin governor’s mansion this year.