In this update:

• U.S. Senate Election
• U.S. House Election
• Gubernatorial Election
• Attorney General Election
• State Legislative Elections
• Post- Session Updates

U.S. Senate Election

Sen. Johnson raises $7.1 million in Q1, Lasry leads among Democrats, but gives campaign $3.5 million loan

Senator Ron Johnson has reported raising $7.1 million in the first quarter of the year, this includes $2.1 million in online contributions. His cash on hand is now $2.5 million. The nearest Democratic opponent is Alex Lasry, who reported raising $3.9 million this quarter.

 

Democratic Candidates Reported the Following:

  • Lt. Governor and Democratic candidate for Senate, Mandela Barnes, raised more than $1.7 million during the first quarter of 2022 for his Senate bid. This surpassed the $1.23 million that Barnes raised in the last quarter of 2021.
  • Democratic candidate Alex Lasry, senior vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks, raised $3.9 million in the first quarter filing period. He has already loaned $2.3 million to his campaign, so much of this is likely self funded.
  • State Treasurer & Democratic candidate Sarah Godlewski raised $2.1 million, including $1.5 million in personal funds this quarter, leaving her cash on hand at $1.6 million.

Ron Johnson launches new TV ad championing “right to try” legislation

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) announced the release of a new broadcast and cable television advertisement that touts “right to try” legislation that he helped passed through Congress in 2017. Johnson said that the law “allows patients with terminal diagnoses to utilize drugs and medical treatments before they are fully approved by the FDA.” The advertisement features a man who credits experimental medication to his recovery from a severe case of COVID-19.

See the ad:

Alex Lasry releases “Strengthening Our Rural Economies” plan

Alex Lasry, a candidate in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, released his “Strengthening Our Rural Economies” plan, which focuses on retaining and attracting rural workers, improving supply chains, expanding broadband access, and more.

“I want to help bring real change and real results for the people of Wisconsin and that starts with putting more money back in the pockets of rural, hard-working Wisconsinites,” said Lasry in a statement. “This plan at its core is about investing more in our rural, working families. We all know Wisconsin families right now are struggling with rising costs – and my plan will have a direct effect on easing supply chain problems, help lower inflationary pressure on prices, and help create more jobs in every part of the state.”

Read Lasry’s full plan here.

 

U.S. House Elections

3rd Congressional District GOP Candidate Derrick Van Orden raises $900k in first quarter of 2022, while Sen. Pfaff raised $286.8k

Derrick Van Orden, the former navy seal and congressional candidate announced that he has raised $900k in the first quarter of this year. This puts his campaign as having $1.8 million for cash on hand.

Among the Dems seeking the party’s nomination, state Sen. Brad Pfaff, of Onalaska, had the most cash on hand to finish the first quarter at $286,802.

The other Dems competing in the Aug. 9 primary are:

  • Former CIA officer and Army Cpt. Deb McGrath
  • Eau Claire businesswoman Rebecca Cooke
  • Navy veteran Brett Knudsen
  • La Crosse City Council member Mark Neumann

Federal Campaign Finance Reports are due end of day today, we will provide a full update of numbers following their release.

Gubernatorial Election

Tom Tiffany endorses Rebecca Kleefisch for governor

Former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch announced that she has been endorsed by U.S. Representative Tom Tiffany (WI-7), making her the only candidate in the Republican primary with backing from a current member of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation.

“As Lt. Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch worked alongside Governor Walker, myself, and my Republican colleagues in the legislature to pass some of the boldest conservative reforms ever seen in our state,” Tiffany said. “Rebecca is the only candidate for governor with a record of unwavering dedication to conservative ideals, conservative values, and conservative action. I’m endorsing Rebecca for Governor because she is the candidate that can take on the liberal agenda of Tony Evers and bring Wisconsin back to prosperity.”

Tommy Thompson and Tim Michels both weigh potential entrance into GOP Gubernatorial Primary

According to conservative talk radio host Mark Belling, former Governor Tommy Thompson and Tim Michels, a pipeline company executive, have reportedly come to an agreement that only one of them will run for the Republican nomination for Governor. On Tuesday, Belling said that it is likely that either Thompson or Michels will enter the race within a week. He said he did not which one would run.

Thompson was Governor between 1987 and 2001, when he resigned to become the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) until 2005. He most recently served as the interim President of the UW System. Belling claims that Diane Hendricks, the GOP megadonor and owner of ABC Supply, is no longer backing former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch’s campaign, and is now urging Thompson to run.

Michels, of the family-owned Michels Corporation, ran for U.S. Senate against incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) in 2004 and was defeated by over 300,000 votes. He is described by Belling as a “behind the scenes GOP force” who has been a part of Republican task forces on energy and infrastructure issues. Belling believes that he would be able to self-fund his campaign to some extent, which would be critical given that the primary is four months away.

Kevin Nicholson announces “Veterans Advisory Team”

Kevin Nicholson, a candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary, announced the formation of his “Veterans Advisory Team,” composed of veterans from across Wisconsin.

“As a veteran, serving our country is a pivotal part of who we are,” he said. “I’m honored that so many brave men and women who previously served our nation in uniform have come together from throughout Wisconsin to fight for our state’s future. Wisconsin voters are tired of career politicians who are so caught up in the system that they lose sight of what really matters – things like taking care of the men and women who honorably put their lives on the line to serve our nation and defend our Constitution. As Wisconsin’s next governor, I will draw on my real-life experiences as a veteran, businessman, and father to ensure that we are making responsible, common-sense decisions that protect our military, our veterans, and the people of our state and nation.”

The teamis co-chaired by Kevin Hermening, a former Marine, and former State Senator and Marine, David Zien.

 

Lieutenant Governor Election

Roth launches first media buy in his campaign for Lt. Governor

State Senator Roger Roth’s campaign announced today a $250,000 ad buy. This includes broadcast and cable TV in the Milwaukee and Green Bay media markets which will start running in July.
The nine-person GOP primary for Lieutenant Governor is Aug. 9. Roth is the first candidate to announce plans for a paid media campaign

Attorney General Election

GOP Candidate Eric Toney seeks removal of 5 members of Wisconsin Election Commission

Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney, a candidate in the Republican primary for Attorney General, has filed a complaint with Gov. Tony Evers that seeks to remove five members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC). Toney asked Evers to remove two Republicans and three Democrats from the WEC because they did not allow special voting deputies into nursing homes to help residents vote during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adam Jarchow, a former representative in the State Assembly and Toney’s opponent in the Republican primary, criticized Toney for the move, arguing that the governor lacks the authority to remove commissioners. Jarchow stated that “while Eric Toney is out doing political stunts and even initiating election prosecutions that he failed to pursue until becoming a candidate, my focus is on restoring order and keeping our citizens safe in Milwaukee, Green Bay, and other places across the state where violence is out of control.”

 

State Legislative Elections

Tyler Vorpagel will not seek re-election

State Rep. Tyler Vorpagel (R-Plymouth), the current Majority Caucus Chair in the Assembly, announced that he will not seek re-election.

“It has been an honor and a truly humbling experience to have earned the trust and support of my friends and neighbors and represent my hometown in the State Legislature these past 7 plus years,” he said. “Early after my first election I was told by a very wise person that ‘this isn’t a life sentence’ and for me it is time to move on with the next chapter of my life.”

Cody Horlacher will not seek re-election to run for Waukesha County Circuit Court

State Rep. Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago) announced that he will not seek re-election to the State Assembly, instead choosing to run for Waukesha County Circuit Court after incumbent Maria Lazar won her election to the 2nd District Court of Appeals. Under the State Legislative maps proposed by Gov. Tony Evers, Horlacher would have been re-districted into the same Assembly district as Rep. Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego). However, Horlacher said that he had been considering a run for circuit court even before the court’s decision, which was recently overturned.

“I’m committed to serving the people of our community. We need principled public servants who will preserve the rule of law, public safety, and our freedoms. As a Waukesha County judge, I will uphold the rule of law, ensure our constitutional rights are protected, and not legislate from the bench,” he said.

Joe Sanfelippo will not seek re-election

Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin), the current Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health, announced that he will not seek re-election to the State Assembly.

“It has been a distinct honor to represent the people of West Allis and New Berlin in the state Assembly,” he said.

In a phone interview with Wispolitics.com, Sanfelippo expressed frustration with the State Legislature for failing to take action against the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC), saying “I’ve got no patience to work in an Assembly that has such little self-respect that they don’t care whether the laws they passed are enforced or not.”

Gary Hebl will not seek re-election

State Rep. Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie) announced that he will not seek re-election to the State Assembly.

“For almost eighteen years, I’ve had the best job in the world. Sun Prairie has been my home since the day I was born. I cannot imagine a better place to grow up or raise a family. It has been the privilege of my lifetime to represent my hometown and the people of the 46th Assembly District. I have enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.

Nick Milroy will not seek re-election

State Rep. Nick Milroy (D-South Range) announced that he will not seek re-election to the state assembly.

Milroy turns 48 today and has three school-aged children. In a statement he said, “My children are at an age where they need their dad around more than the Legislature does.”

 

Sondy Pope will not seek re-election

State Rep. Sondy Pope (D- Mt. Horeb) announced that she will not seek re-election after 20 years in the State Assembly.

“It is now time for me to step out of this role, and I look forward to the next generation of leaders and the work they will do,” Pope said.

With her announcement, Pope becomes the 28th legislator to not run for re-election in November. These include:

 

Senate:

  • District 5- Dale Kooyenga- Dependent on Redistricting?
  • District 15 – Janis Ringhand – Retiring
  • District 25 – Janet Bewley – Retiring
  • District 27 – Jon Erpenbach – Retiring
  • District 23 – Kathy Bernier – Retiring
  • District 19 – Roger Roth – Running for Lt. Governor
  • District 29 – Jerry Petrowski – Retiring

 

Assembly:

  • District 5 – Jim Steineke – Retiring
  • District 6 – Gary Tauchen – Retiring
  • District 10 – David Bowen – Running for Lt. Governor
  • District 13 – Sara Rodriguez – Running for Lt. Governor
  • District 15 – Joe Sanfelippo – Retiring
  • District 27 – Tyler Vorpagel – Retiring
  • District 31 – Amy Loudenbeck – Running for Sec. of State
  • District 33 – Cody Horlacher – Running for Waukesha County Circuit Court
  • District 45 – Mark Spreitzer – Running for State Senate
  • District 46 – Gary Hebl – Retiring
  • District 52 – Jeremy Thiesfeldt – Retiring
  • District 54 – Gordon Hintz – Retiring
  • District 55 – Rachel Cabral-Guevara – Running for State Senate
  • District 59 – Tim Ramthun – Running for Governor
  • District 61 – Sam Kerkman – Won Kenosha County Executive Race
  • District 68 – Jesse James – Running for State Senate
  • District 73- Nick Milroy- Retiring
  • District 74 – Beth Meyers – Retiring
  • District 79 – Dianne Hesselbein – Running for State Senate
  • District 80- Sondy Pope- Retiring
  • District 82 – Ken Skowronski – Retiring
  • District 84 – Mike Kuglitsch – Retiring

 

Post-Session Updates

Medical Marijuana bill will receive first public hearing

A Republican-authored bill that would legalize medical marijuana at the state-level will get its first public hearing on April 20th.

Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R-Tomahawk), who chairs the Senate Committee that will be hearing the bill, said that the proposal was written to be limited so as to garner support from Republican lawmakers. Unlike the Democratic proposal for legalization, Felzkowski’s bill does not allow for smoking medical marijauna.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has voiced support for the legalization of medical marijuana, although Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) has said that he views legalization as a federal-level issue.

 

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