Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Focus in on Wisconsin

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Focus in on Wisconsin

Article excerpt

The Senate race in Wisconsin deserves a little extra attention. Not only do the candidates, incumbent Russell Feingold, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Mark Neumann, present sharp philosophical contrasts. Their race spotlights a key issue: campaign-spending reform.

The spotlight is on largely because Senator Feingold, with Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, authored a far-reaching reform bill that succumbed to a filibuster this year in the Senate. In a move many consider politically suicidal, the Wisconsin senator has made a point of rejecting aid from his party's "soft money" accounts.

"Soft money," you may recall, refers to funds that can be contributed in unlimited quantities by corporations, unions, and others to party organizations for so-called "party building," as opposed to direct support for candidates. Typically, however, millions of party soft dollars pay for ads designed to boost individual campaigns. To both candidates' credit, they've agreed to limit their own spending to $1 per registered voter in Wisconsin (some 3. …

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