In this update:

  • Marquette University Law School Poll
  • U.S. House Election
  • Gubernatorial Election
  • Attorney General Election
  • State Legislative Elections
  • Post- Session Updates


Marquette University Law School Poll

April 2022 MU Law Poll Results

Did you miss our Wednesday alert on the results of the April 2022 MU Law Poll? Be sure to check it out here!

Results include Wisconsin voter preferences on:

  • Republican & Democratic primaries for Governor & U.S. Senate
  • Approval of President Biden
  • Approval of Governor Evers
  • Approval of the Wisconsin State Legislature


U.S. House Elections

3rd CD ranked as most likely to flip party control in the midterm elections

In The National Journal’s power rankings of 2022 House elections, Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District was ranked as the number one House seat that is most likely to flip party control in the fall elections. The three reasons the National Journal provides for selecting the 3rd CD as most likely to flip are:

  • Its an Open Seat. Congressman Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) who has represented the district since being first elected in 1996 is not seeking re-election.
  • Former President Trump won the district by 4% in 2016 and by nearly 5% in 2020.
  • Republican Derrick Van Orden, who narrowly lost to Congressman Kind by 3% in 2020, has a significant fundraising advantage over his potential Democratic opponents.


Gubernatorial Election

Tim Michels announces his gubernatorial bid

On Monday, Wisconsin-based Michels Corporation construction executive Tim Michels formally announced he is running in the GOP primary for governor. In his announcement, Michels said that he will use his private-sector experience to bring people together. Other issues he highlighted included education, in which he accused incumbent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers of ruining the Wisconsin education system. Additionally, he called upon GOP legislators to reintroduce the parental bill of rights and a bill which would break up the Milwaukee Public Schools. In the early days of his campaign, Michels is already seeking to position himself as an outsider in the GOP primary for Governor. However, Michels is not new to the political space. In 2004, he ran against Democratic U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold. Recently, he served on the board of the Rebecca Kleefisch’s 1848 Project, a policy group which she formed as she considered her run for governor in 2022.

During his announcement speech at the Michels Corporation building in Brownsville, Michels spoke of going to work for his family’s business at age nine and recounted his 12 years of military service in the Army in which he rose to the rank of major. Michels also spoke of his late father, calling him an entrepreneur and a risk taker who wasn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves. “That’s how he trained my brothers and me to operate, and that’s how I’m going to operate as governor,” Michels said.

Michels additionally gave an interview with conservative radio host Jay Weber while launching his campaign. In the interview, Michels announced that he will largely fund the campaign himself, stating that he will not accept donations from political action committees or lobbyists. He also declared that he would accept no more than $500 from individuals, despite state law allowing donations of up to $20,000. “I will never ask anyone for a donation. And I am going to limit the amount of money that someone can give me to $500. Why is that? I’m not going to owe anyone anything,” he said.


Freedom Wisconsin PAC releases radio ad backing Kleefisch

The Freedom Wisconsin PAC announced this week a six figure radio ad buy backing GOP gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch that will run statewide. The group is described as the “leading independent expenditure PAC working to elect Wisconsin Republicans.” The ad describes Kleefisch as a “pro-life, pro-gun, pro-cop” candidate and the “proven conservative [choice] for governor.”
Listen to the ad here:


The Wisconsin Initiative releases TV ad on Gov. Evers’ handling the economy

The Wisconsin Initiative announced this week the six-figure ad buy which will run in the Milwaukee market. The ad praises how Evers has handled the economy in Wisconsin. It states that Evers invested a billion dollars to help small businesses recover from the global pandemic and prevent layoffs, signed a “bipartisan income tax cut.,” and also commends Evers for Wisconsin currently having one of the lowest unemployment rates in state history.

Watch the ad here:

Tim Michels releases first ad of gubernatorial campaign

Ahead of his formal campaign kickoff on Monday, Michels a short video on Twitter which is now running in a $1 million ad campaign. The 60-second ad features Michels talking abount his time as an Army commander, growing up in a time where he took the pledge everday at school “but today, people take a knee,” and how establishment Republicans are “along for the ride” as liberals destroy “everything we love about America.” The ad ends with Michels stating, “I’m Tim Michels. I’m running for governor to turn Madison upside down and take back the freedoms that make Wisconsin great,” Michels says.
Watch the ad here:


Attorney General Election

Adam Jarchow promises to launch a statewide investigation into 2020 election

This week, Republican candidate for Attorney General, Adam Jarchow anounced that he will launch a statewide investigation into the 2020 election should he be elected. The investigation would include looking into claims that the members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission broke the law regarding to the guidances it issued to nursing homes which were brought to light by Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling.

“Those items, like the one that Sheriff Schmaling has forwarded, we would absolutely investigate those allegations,” Jarchow said. “And remember we will have another election, the 2022 election, and if there are allegations of election law-breaking, the attorney general should investigate that. That is the attorney general’s job.”


State Legislature Elections

Sen. Dale Kooyenga announces he will not run for re-election 

After telling just last week that he planned to seek another term in the 5th Senate District, Sen. Dale Kooyenga has announced that he has changed his mind and will no longer seek re-election. Ahead of the recent redistricting decision in which the Wisconsin Supreme Court chose the GOP legislature’s maps, Kooyenga would have been redistricted out of his current district and into Sen. Alberta Darling’s District. During that time, he announced that he would not look to challenge her in a primary and would instead retire.

At the time of the Wispolitics interview last week, Kooyenga says he was only 80% of the way there on another run, and he could not get to 100% over the past week. Kooyenga cited his kids as his biggest reason for deciding against another bid. In an interview after this week’s Joint Finance Committee meeting he stated, “the campaign wasn’t it. It was the four years after that. You don’t do this job if you’re 80 percent there.” Dems Jessica Katzenmeyer, who lost a bid for the Assembly two years ago, and Tom Palzewicz, who ran for the 5th CD in 2020, have both announced plans to run for Kooyenga’s Senate seat.

Kooyenga is the seventh member of the Senate to decide to retire or seek another office, while 23 incumbents are set to leave the Assembly. The 30 departures are third most since 1940 behind 32 in 1942 and 31 in 1954, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau. A full list of candidates who are not returning to office, and a list of those who have announced they are running for the open seats can be found below.


  • District 5- Dale Kooyenga – Retiring
  • 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
  • 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 19- Jonathan Brostoff – Running for Milwauke Common Council
  • 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
Recent candidate announcements
  • State Senate
    • Tom Palzewicz (D) – 5th SD – OPEN, previously held by Dale Kooyenga (R)
    • Andrew Thomsen (R) – 19th SD – OPEN, previously held by Roger Roth (R)
  • State Assembly
    • Jason Dean (R) – 31st AD – OPEN, previously held by Amy Loudenbeck (R)
    • Maryann Zimmerman (R) – 31st AD – OPEN, previously held by Amy Loudenbeck (R)
    • Jenna Jacobson (D) – 43rd AD – currently held by Don Vruwink (D)
    • Marisa Voelkel (R) – 43rd AD – currently held by Don Vruwink (D)
    • Melissa Ratcliff (D) – 46th AD – OPEN, previously held by Gary Hebl (D)
    • Ty Bodden (R) – 59th AD – OPEN, previously held by Tim Ramthun (R)
    • Kevin Schanning (D) – 74th AD – OPEN, previously held by Beth Meyers (D)
    • Alex Joers (D) – 79th AD – OPEN, previously held by Dianne Hesselbein (D)
    • Anna Halverson (D) – 80th AD – OPEN, previously held by Sondy Pope (D)
    • Chad Kemp (D) – 80th AD – OPEN, previously held by Sondy Pope (D)
    • Dale Yurs (D) – 80th AD – OPEN, previously held by Sondy Pope (D)
    • Nik Rettinger (R) – 83rd AD – currently held by Chuck Wichgers (R)
    • Bob Donovan (R) – 84th AD – OPEN, previously held by Mike Kuglitsch (R)


Post-Session Updates

JFC tweaks Governor’s plan for $283M in federal transportation funding

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) slightly altered the Governor Tony Evers’ plan to spend $283 million in federal transportation funding on Tuesday, much of which comes from the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Evers’ Department of Transportation had proposed using about $124 million for state highway rehabilitation, $84 million for local transportation facilities, and $61 million for local bridge improvements.

However, Republicans on the JFC restricted the use of about $4.3 million for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which funds projects that reduce transportation-related pollution or congestion. The funds may now only be used for highway right-of-way improvements that reduce congestion or reduce traffic flow, in addition to traffic signaling improvements. Co-chair Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) said that there were other funds within the program that could be used for bike trails, arguing that the Republican members of the committee wanted to use the additional federal funding for roadwork.


CAFO sues DNR over herd limits, water regulations

Kinnard Farms, a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in Kewaunee County is suing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) over the agency’s changes to the former’s wastewater permit. The changed permit would limit Kinnard Farms’ herd size and require groundwater monitoring. The plaintiffs argue that it will be harmed by change if it cannot grow its herd size and is forced to pay for a groundwater monitoring system. Local residents have said that they have experienced “brown, foul-smelling water” coming out of their taps, with testing showing relatively high levels of ammonia and phosphorous — both of which indicate the presence of manure.

The new permit was influenced by a July 2021 ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court that allowed the DNR to continue to put conditions on Kinnard Farms’ wastewater permit. The court also ruled that the agency could limit the number of animal units and require groundwater monitoring because of the agency’s responsibility to limit manure pollution into the state’s waterways.


Fundraising Opportunities

A list of all upcoming fundraiser opportunities can be found by clicking the button below. For any questions or more information, please do not hesitate to contact your Michael Best Strategies contact.

Wisconsin Campaign Fundraisers