The Republican Party of Wisconsin isn't backing away from a statement about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke's plans to self-finance her campaign, even though it was based on an erroneous report.
The statement, in response to Burke saying last week she won't be able to entirely self-fund her campaign, claimed:
"It was widely reported that Burke planned to spend $8-10 million in the race, yet she is now hedging her bets amidst a struggling campaign and her inability to create traction with voters."
The State Journal asked for the party's source of the "widely reported" figure. State GOP spokesman Jesse Dougherty cited a Jan. 15 report by conservative website Right Wisconsin.
The Right Wisconsin article stated: "Does Democratic candidate for Governor Mary Burke really intend to spend $8 million of her own money this year? According to a public policy report from Foley and Lardner, the answer is yes."
A spokesman for the Milwaukee-based law firm said the report was retracted. He forwarded an email that Foley & Lardner public affairs manager Ray Carey had sent to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which also quoted the report, but quickly retracted it.
"After doing some fact checking I've come to the conclusion that the $8 million number is not sourced and was a mistake," Carey wrote. "So internally, among those who receive the newsletter, we are making a correction."
Right Wisconsin, which is owned by the same company as the Journal Sentinel, updated its report Tuesday after the error was brought to their attention by a State Journal reporter.
After being informed about the retraction, GOP executive director Joe Fadness issued a modified statement to the State Journal saying "self-financing numbers as high as $10 million have circulated for months." He did not disclose a source for the $10 million figure and the March 27 news release on the party's website remains the same.
Burke spokesman Joe Zepecki said Burke has not disclosed how much she plans to spend on the race. Her January campaign finance report showed she had contributed $400,000 of the $1.8 million she raised last fall.
"Mary has said all along that she will put in what she can, but that will be a fraction of what is required," he said.