By Shereen Siewert

The November election is now just a few short weeks away with candidates racing to the finish line, each hoping to represent your interests at the state and federal level.

As part of our ongoing election coverage, Wausau Pilot & Review just launched an elections resource page that we hope you find interesting. The page features a look at some key elements of the presidential and U.S. 7th Congressional District races, along with voter registration stats for Wisconsin and our region.

The total cost of the 2020 election will approach $11 billion, obliterating previous spending records, according to an early estimate from the Center for Responsive Politics. So why does campaign finance matter?

Political candidates accept money from citizens, corporations and political action committees. Knowing who is giving money to whom can tell you a lot. Seeing who donates can reveal crucial conflicts of interest or “dark money” influence. Understanding companies’ contributions can also help voters determine where they want to spend their money.

Of course, campaign finances don’t tell the full picture when it comes to elections. Polls certainly don’t, either. (We all know what happened in 2016.) But together, they are an interesting barometer of public opinion and help illustrate the state of each campaign.

Normally, we restrict our election coverage to local community races, but with so much interest in what’s happening at the national level, we are making an exception. Watch for our comprehensive election coverage on Nov. 3 as well.

Data visualizations on the page are provided through a partnership with HiGeorge, a California-based organization committed to helping newsrooms throughout the country enhance their existing reporting and further reader understanding. We appreciate their hard work and willingness to share it. This is the same group that developed our easy-to-use COVID-19 resource page that you see here and the related data tools you see on our home page every day.

In the near future, we’ll be rolling out additional visualizations on real estate trends and crime. Be sure to watch for it.

In the meantime, bookmark our Decision 2020 page here.

As always, if you have questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing us at editor@wausaupilotandreview.com.

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