In this update:

  • Redistricting
  • U.S. Senate Election
  • Gubernatorial Election
  • State Legislature Elections


Craig Gilbert predicts strong Republican majority in State Legislature

Craig Gilbert, a fellow with Marquette University Law School’s Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education, predicted in a column that appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Republican legislators will maintain and potentially even grow their strong majorities in the State Assembly and State Senate in the 2022 election.

Gilbert’s analysis was based on data generated by John Johnson, a research fellow at the Marquette Law School’s Lubar Center, who looked at how the new legislative districts would have performed at the top of the ticket in the 2016 presidential, 2018 gubernatorial and 2020 presidential elections.

In his analysis, Gilbert found that, under the maps passed in 2011, 61 of the 99 Assembly districts tilted towards Republicans. However, the new maps have 63 districts that lean Republican. Similarly, the old maps had about 21 Senate seats tilt towards Republicans while the new ones have 23. Gilbert concluded that even though Democrats are competitive in statewide races, they “…don’t have the faintest chance of winning control of either chamber under this map.”

Gilbert also notes that the number of competitive districts in the Legislature decreased under the new maps. Only 14 districts have partisan leans of less than 10 points, down from 21 under the old maps. Of the 33 Senate districts, only 7 have a partisan lean of less than 10 points, down from 8.

Gilbert attributes this change mainly to gerrymandering, although he says that it is not the sole reason. Other key factors include increasing partisanship in voting behavior and the decline of Democratic support in rural areas.

In addition to the Marquette analysis that Gilbert used, the redistricting website Plan Score has analyzed the new maps using top of the ticket election results from 2012-2020 and an algorithm that accounts for incumbency and other key factors. The results of Plan Score’s analysis finds a similar likely legislative election result and can be found illustrated below:

U.S. Senate Election

Mandela Barnes announces that he has received over 100,000 donations

Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes announced on Monday that he has reached over 100,000 donations in his campaign in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

In his press release, Barnes said that the average donation to his campaign was less than $50, claiming that he is “the only candidate in the race with the grassroots momentum to defeat Ron Johnson.” He also noted that he raised more than $4 million for his campaign to date.

I’m so proud to have earned the support of so many workers, teachers, parents, students, and farmers who understand that together we have a lot more in common with each other than we do with any out-of-touch millionaire politician,” Barnes said.

Ron Johnson releases television ad championing small business tax cuts

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) released a new television advertisement that highlights his efforts to pass tax relief for small businesses.

The advertisement is part of a six-figure ad buy that will air on broadcast and cable television throughout the state.

“Had it not been for me, Main Street businesses would have been left behind and found it very difficult to compete with the big guys,” Johnson said in a press release. “I’m proud of my efforts and believe that without me, many small businesses would have failed because of the competitive disadvantage, or converted to C-Corp status and thus dramatically reduced the amount of tax revenue tax the federal government would have received.”

Ron Johnson releases ad using video from White House Correspondents Dinner

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) released an advertisement that uses video from the White House Correspondents Dinner, criticizing “liberal Democrats and the media elite” for “falsely attacking” Johnson.

Johnson’s campaign said that the ad will run on television and digital platforms across the state, but did not release any other details.

The advertisement also mentions high gas prices, crime, and border issues. Johnson ends the advertisement by saying that he is fighting to address inflation and the other issues.

Sarah Godlewski releases new television ad criticizing Ron Johnson over abortion

State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski released a new television advertisement in her campaign in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate that criticizes incumbent Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) for his stance on abortion.

The six-figure, statewide ad buy is largely in response to a recent leak of a draft majority opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade, thereby restricting access to abortion across the United States.

In a press release, Godlewski says that the potential decision “makes choice and reproductive freedom a frontline issue in Wisconsin in the 2022 elections.” She also said that she has been “loud, clear, and unwavering about her commitment to protecting abortion rights.”

Gubernatorial Election

GOP Rules Committee gives preliminary approval of “no endorsement option”
at state convention

The Rules Committee of the Republican Party of Wisconsin (RPW) has given its preliminary approval of allowing delegates to vote not to endorse a candidate in statewide elections during its upcoming state convention. The proposal will go before the full convention on May 21st, where delegates will have the final say.

RPW’s constitution requires a vote on whether to endorse candidates at its convention. To win an endorsement, a candidate must be backed by at least 60% of the delegates. The endorsement provides a significant boost as it allows a campaign to access the party’s infrastructure ahead of the August 9th primary.

RPW’s Executive Committee previously established thresholds for candidates to be considered for an endorsement. Those running for governor or the U.S. Senate must have raised at least $100,000 from at least 1,000 individual donors by March 15th to be considered for an endorsement.

Kevin Nicholson, a candidate in the gubernatorial primary, has criticized the party for its endorsement process. He previously told the party that he would not seek its endorsement, but later asked to be included on the ballot as an “insurance policy” if the party decided to not allow a “no endorsement option.”

A spokeswoman for Nicholson said that he has “remained consistent in his position recommending that the Republican Party of Wisconsin not cause unnecessary division by endorsing a candidate before the primary.”

Tony Evers announces $3.5 million television ad buy

Governor Tony Evers announced that his campaign has bought its first television advertisement of the election cycle

The advertisement, which highlights Evers’ achievements while in office, is part of an initial $3.5 million broadcast and cable buy that will air across Wisconsin beginning this week.

“Governor Tony Evers has a strong record of common sense accomplishments, including cutting income taxes for working families, increasing funding to public schools, fixing thousands of miles of roads and bridges, and supporting small businesses,” said Cassi Fenili, Evers’ campaign manager, in a press release. “We’re proud of the governor’s record and will continue to run an aggressive campaign that highlights the results he’s delivering and his plan for Wisconsin’s future.”

DGA will spend $21 million in television ads for Wisconsin gubernatorial race

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) and its allies announced their intent to spend $21 million in television buy reservations in Wisconsin during the gubernatorial election. This campaign is part of the group’s recent commitment to spend $75 million on television buys in seven states with Democratic incumbent governors.

“The DGA is all in to protect our incumbents. As the fight to defend our democracy and fundamental rights shifts to the states, ensuring Democratic governors are in office is more vital than ever,” said Executive Director Noam Lee in a press release. “Our track record of smart, strategic investments has helped us elect Democratic governors across the country, and it is how we are going to win this fall.”

The DGA will also invest in open seat and challenger races in states like Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, and Florida. This will reportedly involve donating directly to state parties to build “general election infrastructure.”

Tim Michels releases new television ad touting construction business

Tim Michels, a candidate in the Republican primary for governor, launched another campaign advertisement that will be run on both broadcast and cable television.

The advertisement is part of a $980,000 ad buy, the same value as Michels’ first ad buy that was launched last week.

In the ad, Michels frames himself as a “businessman who knows how to get things done, create jobs, and how to lead.” He also says that grew his family’s construction company from a few hundred employees to well over 8,000 currently.

State Legislature Elections

Recent candidate announcements

State Assembly

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