In this update:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Governor’s Race
  • Attorney General’s Race
  • Legislative Races
  • Post-Session Updates
  • U.S. Senate Race
  • Congressional Races

Upcoming Events

Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Debates

The Michael Best Strategies Wisconsin team is proud to invite you to a series of Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Debates. The Debates will take place over two days, with the Democratic Debate on Wednesday July 20th from 1:00-2:00 PM and the Republican Debate on Thursday July 21st from 1:00-2:30 PM. The debates will be held at the UW-Milwaukee Mainstage Theater, and will air on Spectrum News 1. This event is hosted in partnership with Spectrum News 1, UW- Milwaukee, and Wispolitics.

Tickets are first come, first serve. Please RSVP to Sabrina Stencil at or 608-416-1703 by July 15th.

Governor’s Race

Evers raises $10.1 million in 2022 for governor’s race

Governor Tony Evers’ campaign reported raising $10.1 million over the first six months of 2022, a sign the race for governor is shaping up to be one of the most expensive in the state’s history. According to a press release from Evers’ campaign, Evers received over 60,000 contributions from more than 32,000 donors and reported having $7.6 million on hand at the end of June. “[O]ur record-breaking fundraising report shows the overwhelming grassroots support Governor Evers has earned” said Evers’ Campaign Manager Cassi Fenili.

Evers has raised more than $20 million since 2021, and the $10 million he’s already raised this year is more than twice what former Republican Governor Scott Walker raised during the first half of 2018. Since Evers finished December with $10.5 million on hand, that means he has spent roughly $13 million over the last six months. According to, Evers’ campaign said some of that spending went toward ad-buys for the general election.

Evers will need every dollar he can get to win re-election with the Democratic party facing strong headwinds going into the 2022 midterms due to rising gas prices, inflation, and increasing levels of crime. Although the most recent MU Law School Poll released in June found 48% of registered voters approved of the job Evers is doing, 56% of registered voters said the state is on the “wrong track.”

Michael Best Strategies Capitol Insights will continue to report on fundraising numbers as they become available and will release a detailed breakdown of campaign financial reports in next week’s edition following the July 15 reporting deadline.

Kleefisch raises more than $3.6 million in the first half of the year

Rebecca Kleefisch’s campaign announced this week that she raised more than $3.6 million in the first half of 2022. “I’m thankful for the grassroots conservatives who continue to invest in our campaign because I am the only candidate with a proven record to get Wisconsin back on track,” Kleefisch said in a press release.

According to the campaign, the $3.6 million haul is more than all the Democratic challengers for governor raised in 2018 combined and also exceeds former Governor Scott Walker’s fundraising report in July 2010. However, the number is far below the $10.1 million that incumbent Governor Tony Evers said he raised during the first half of 2022. Kleefisch’s campaign did not release how much she spent during the first six months of the year or how much cash she had on hand at the end of the filing period.

Michael Best Strategies Capitol Insights will continue to report on fundraising numbers as they become available and will release a detailed breakdown of campaign financial reports in next week’s edition following the July 15 reporting deadline.

Evers launches two new ads, touts effort to expand high-speed internet access

Governor Tony Evers’ campaign released two new ads this week promoting Evers’ investment in the expansion of high-speed internet access across the state. Both ads are part of a $3.5 million buy that runs through the August 9th primary. The ads are the tenth and eleventh that Evers has run so far in his bid for re-election. Both ads are premised on Evers efforts to expand high-speed internet and make the claim that Evers “expanded high-speed internet to over 300,000 homes and businesses across [Wisconsin].”

The first ad features Evers touting his administration’s efforts to expand high-speed internet to more than 300,000 homes and businesses; he goes on to say he wants to double that number in the next four years. “Small businesses and families in rural communities need access to high-speed internet to keep up with the world,” Evers concludes. The second ad features a farmer identified as Scott from Dodgeville who talks about the importance of high-speed internet to farmers and the regular use of internet technology in farming. The ad closes with Scott saying “Tony Evers is doing the right thing for Wisconsin.”

The ads come on the heels of a newly released report from the state’s broadband access task force that calls for continued state funding to expand high-speed internet access to all homes and businesses by 2025.

Kleefisch releases second ad targeting Michels over gas tax

Rebecca Kleefisch’s campaign released a new ad this week that features former Republican Governor Scott Walker and attacks rival GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels over his alleged support for increases to the gas tax. In the spot, Walker says Kleefisch “stood with me as we took on the big government special interests and cut taxes.” Walker goes on to say that “While Rebecca and I were fighting for reform, Tim Michels’ company was teaming up with the union bosses and those lobbying for a gas tax increase.” Walker then says “There’s only one conservative fighter in the race for governor. Her name is Rebecca Kleefisch.”

The ad comes as Kleefisch and Michels, the widely accepted frontrunners for the GOP nomination for governor, have been locked in a heated battle over Michels’ alleged past support for gas tax increases and reliance on government contracts to build his wealth. The two will face off against one another as well as fellow Republican Timothy Ramthun during the August 9th partisan primary.

Michels releases ad refuting charge he supported increases to gas tax

Republican candidate for governor Tim Michels responded to growing attacks that he supported increases to the state’s gas tax by releasing a new ad refuting the charges. The 15-second spot opens with an image of Rebecca Kleefisch and a narrator saying, “The corrupt establishment is falsely attacking Tim Michels.” The narrator then says that Michels has “never supported higher gas taxes,” after which Michels says “These attacks on me, it’s what happens when the establishment gets desperate.” The ad then concludes with the narrator saying, “Tim Michels: Trump-endorsed, job-creating American patriot.”

The ad from Michels is the latest sign the Republican primary is increasingly turning negative as the most recent MU Law School Poll shows the race between Michels and Kleefisch neck and neck. According to that poll, Michels was the choice of 27% of Republicans and independents who say they will vote in the GOP primary for governor while Kleefisch was supported by 26%. The margin of error for Republican primary voters in that poll was 6.3%.

Tommy Thompson endorses Michels

Although former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson ruled out a run of his own, he still managed to find a way to enter the race for governor. That’s because Thompson endorsed fellow Republican Tim Michels for governor this week. Arguing he strongly believes Wisconsin “is on the wrong track and 56% of registered voters in the latest Marquette Law School poll agree” Thompson back up his endorsement for Michels saying “Tim has bold plans to reduce crime, improve schools, restore integrity to our elections and put our economy back on track. We need to get Wisconsin back on the right track.”

Responding to the endorsement, Michels said “I appreciate Governor Thompson’s endorsement and vote of confidence..I am happy the governor who reformed welfare and developed the first school choice program in America is now on our team.”

Thompson’s endorsement of Michels comes a month after former Republican President Donald Trump also endorsed the Army veteran and construction executive.

Attorney General’s Race

NRA endorses Jarchow

This week, the National Rifle Association (NRA) endorsed Adam Jarchow for Attorney General of Wisconsin. According to a letter sent to Jarchow by the NRA, the endorsement reflects Jarchow’s “lengthy and proven record of support for the Second Amendment and our hunting heritage.” The letter went on to state that members of the NRA “will interpret your ‘A+’ rating and endorsement as being a solid pro-gun/pro-hunting candidate who is a staunch defender of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.”

The endorsement from the NRA makes Jarchow the only statewide candidate in any race in Wisconsin to receive an endorsement from the organization. In a press release announcing the endorsement, Jarchow said “We’re always just one election away from losing our right to bear arms and protect our families – and as Attorney General, your constitutional right to bear arms will not be infringed upon.”

Jarchow will face off against Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney for the Republican nomination for Attorney General on August 9th.

Legislative Races

Legislative Primary Election Preview

With the August 9th Primary fast approaching, Michael Best Strategies will be providing three separate updates on the Legislative Primary Elections. This week we will be focusing on “open seat” primaries in the State Assembly. Next week we will provide an update on “open seat” primaries in the State Senate and the following week we will focus on incumbent lawmakers being challenged by members of their own party.

Open Seat Primaries in the State Assembly

  • Assembly District 5: Four candidates are vying to succeed retiring Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna). Joy Goeben (R-Hobart) is a former middle school teacher who currently operates a family-run carpet cleaning business. Tim Greenwood (R-Kaukauna) is an attorney who primarily works in family law and estate planning. Kraig Knaack (R-Freedom) is a realtor who works in the Appleton area. The winner of the Republican primary will face Joey Van Deurzen (D-De Pere), an undergraduate studying computer science at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
  • Assembly District 6: There are a total of nine candidates seeking to replace Rep. Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel). David Kohn (R-Bonduel) is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. Dean Neubert (R-Hortonville) is the owner of A-1 Professional Supply, a distributor of maintenance and janitorial products. Nathan Michael (R-Tigerton) is the owner of an HVAC contracting business who has been endorsed by Timothy Ramthun, a candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Matthew Albert (R-Grand Chute) is the former Chairman of the Outagamie County Republican Party. Peter Schmidt (R-Bonduel) is a former member of the Shawano County Board and owner of Schmidt’s Ponderosa. Craig Arrowood (R-Shawano) served as a staffer to Rep. Tauchen from 2007 until earlier this year. William Switalla (D-Wittenberg), who unsuccessfully ran in the Democratic primary for the 6th District in 2020, is the lone Democrat in the race. Two independents are also running: Marcus Gruenstern (I-Shiocton), a chef, and Jacob Tarlton (I-Seymour), a food export specialist at The Stone Group.
  • Assembly District 10: Two candidates are competing in the Democratic primary after Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) briefly sought the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor. Byran Kennedy (D-Glendale) is the Mayor of Glendale and has been endorsed by Rep. Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton). Darrin Madison (D-Milwaukee) is a former Program Coordinator for Youth Justice Milwaukee who has been endorsed by both Bowen and Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee).
  • Assembly District 13: Three candidates are seeking to succeed Rep. Sara Rodriguez (D-Brookfield), who is running for Lt. Governor. The lone Democrat is Sarah Harrison (D-Brookfield), who works in logistics and narrowly lost a seat on the Waukesha County School Board in April 2022. She will face either Tom Michalski, a supervisor on the Waukesha County Board, or Erik Ngutse, an Army veteran and refugee of the Rwandan genocide.
  • Assembly District 15: One candidate is running to replace retiring Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin). Dave Maxey serves on the New Berlin City Council and is endorsed by both Sanfelippo and Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield).
  • Assembly District 19: Ryan Clancy (D-Milwaukee), a supervisor on the Milwaukee County Board, is the sole candidate to succeed Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee).
  • Assembly District 27: Amy Binsfeld (R-Sheboygan), who works at her family-run appliance and furniture store, is the only candidate who is running to replace Rep. Tyler Vorpagel (R-Plymouth).
  • Assembly District 31: Three Republicans are running to succeed Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton), who is running for Secretary of State. Maryann Zimmerman (R-Whitewater) is a member of the Whitewater Unified School District School Board. Ellen Schutt (R-Clinton) is a former staffer for both Loudenbeck and Rep. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc). Jason Dean (R-Whitewater) is a Marine Corps veteran and a former field director for Congressman Bryan Steil. The winner will face Brienne Brown (D-Whitewater), a member of the Whitewater Common Council and founder of the Whitewater Grocery Cooperative, and Christopher Hansen (I-Lake Geneva), a candidate affiliated with the American Solidarity Party.
  • Assembly District 43: Two Democrats are competing to replace Rep. Don Vruwink (D-Milton), who was redistricted to the 33rd Assembly District. Jenna Jacobson (D-Oregon) is a trustee for the Village of Michigan and a housing program specialist for the Dane County Housing Access and Affordability Division. Matt McIntyre (D-Edgarton) is an alderman and the former Mayor of Edgerton. The winner will face Marisa Voelkel (R-Janesville), a registered nurse who currently works as a physical environment specialist at The Joint Commission.
  • Assembly District 45: Two Democrats seek to succeed Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit), who is running for State Senate. Clinton Anderson (D-Beloit) is the President of the Beloit City Council. Ben Dorscheid (D-Belleville) teaches social studies at a public high school. The winner will face Jeff Klett (R-Beloit), a past president of both the Beloit District Board of Education and and the Beloit Economic Development Corporation.
  • Assembly District 46: Five Democrats are running to replace Rep. Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie). Andrew Hysell (D-Sun Prairie) is a principal at CTA Strategies, a public policy consulting firm. Syed Abbas (D-Madison) serves as the president of the Madison Common Council. Melissa Ratcliff (D-Cottage Grove) and Analiese Eicher (D-Sun Prairie) are both supervisors on the Dane County Board. Mike Jacobs (D-Sun Prairie) serves on the Sun Prairie City Council. The winner will face Andrew McKinney (R-Cottage Grove), a veteran and member of the Monona Grove School Board.
  • Assembly District 52: Four candidates are running in the Republican primary after Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) opted not to seek re-election. Donald Hannemann (R-Fond du Lac) is an Army veteran and the owner of H-D Welding. Robert Thresher (R-Fond du Lac) is a former manufacturer and non-profit president. Lawrence Foster (R-Fond du Lac) is the president of REVCOM, a website design company. Jerry O’Connor (R-Fond du Lac) is the current board chair of the Charis Pregnancy Help Center. The winner will face Joe Lavrenz (D-Fond du Lac), who last ran for Assembly in 2018 against Rep. Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) and garnered about 37% of the vote.
  • Assembly District 54: Two candidates will face off to succeed former Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh). Lori Palmeri (D-Oshkosh) is the Mayor of Oshkosh and works for a medical courier service. Donnie Herman (R-Oshkosh) is the owner of several small businesses in the Oshkosh area.
  • Assembly District 55: Two candidates are running to succeed Rep. Rachael Cabral-Guevara (R-Appleton), who is running for State Senate. Nate Gustafson (R-Neenah) was the manager for Cabral-Guevara’s campaign for Assembly in 2020 and recently established Winnebago County for Freedom, a conservative grassroots organization. Stefanie Holt (D-Neenah) serves on the Board of Education for Neenah Joint School District and owns a consulting business.
  • Assembly District 59: Two Republicans are running to replace Rep. Timothy Ramthun (R-Campbellsport), who is running in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Ty Bodden (R-Hilbert) is the current Chairman of the Republican Party of Calumet County and has been endorsed by both Ramthun and former Governor Scott Walker. Vinny Egle (R-Kewaskum) is a tavern owner, machinist, and welder.
  • Assembly District 61: Two Republicans seek to succeed Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem Lakes), who was recently elected as Kenosha County Executive. Mike Honold (R-Union Grove) is the owner of Rival Sports Pub and Grille and is backed by the Tavern League of Wisconsin. Amanda Nedweski (R-Pleasant Prairie) is a supervisor on the Kenosha County Board and is endorsed by Wisconsin Right to Life. The winner will compete against Max Winkels, a retired healthcare manager and executive who currently serves as the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Kenosha County Democrats.
  • Assembly District 61: Three Republicans are competing to replace Rep. Jesse James (R-Altoona), who is running for State Senate. Hillarie Roth (R-Altoona) is a member of the School Board for the School District of Altoona and the Altoona Police and Fire Commissioner. Chris Connell (R-Eau Claire) is an Eau Claire-area mechanic and conservative activist. Karen Hurd (R-Fall Creek) is an Army veteran and a trustee for the Village of Fall Creek. The winning Republican will face Nate Otto (D-Altoona), a supervisor on the Eau Claire County Board and an adjunct professor at Chippewa Valley Technical College.
  • Assembly District 73: One Democrat is campaigning to succeed retiring Rep. Nick Milroy (D-South Range). Laura Gapske (D-Superior) is a member of the school board for the Superior School District and the director of a domestic violence prevention organization. She will face either Angie Sapik (R-Lake Nebagamon), a produce saleswoman who claims to have been approached by the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee (RACC) to run for the seat, or Scott Luostari (R-Poplar), the Chair of the Town of Lakeside and a supervisor on the Douglas County Board.
  • Assembly District 74: A single Democrat is running to replace retiring Rep. Beth Meyers (D-Bayfield). John Adams (D-Washburn) is a vegetable grower and distributor for Bayfield Foods Cooperative and an organizer for the Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU). He will face either Chanz Green (R-Mason), the former utilities manager for the City of Ashland, or John Schey (R-Glidden), an technician working in the electronics industry.
  • Assembly District 79: Two Democrats are campaigning to succeed Rep. Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton). Alex Joers (D-Middleton) is a supervisor on the Dane County Board and a former staffer for Hesselbein, who endorsed his candidacy. Brad Votava (D-Madison) is the owner of Archer Geographic, a GIS company. The winner will face Victoria Fueger (R-Waunakee), who ran against Hesselbein in 2020 and received just under 33% of the vote.
  • Assembly District 80: Five Democrats are competing to succeed retiring Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb). Mike Bare (D-Verona) is a former aide to U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and supervisor for the Dane County Board. Dale Yurs (D-Belleville) is a special education teacher who serves as the Village Board President for Belleville. Anna Halverson (D-Mt. Horeb) is a community organizer and a supervisor for Progressive Community Services. Chad Kemp (D-Verona) is a civil rights and personal injury attorney. Doug Steinberg is a production technician. The winner will face either Nathan Graewin (R-Verona), a small business owner, or Jacob Luginbuhl, an associate director for Heartland Credit Union, and former candidate for the Dane County Board of Supervisors.
  • Assembly District 83: Two Republicans are running to replace Rep. Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego), who was redistricted to the 82nd Assembly District. Nik Rettinger (R-Mukwonago) is the Chief of Staff for Sen. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) and has been endorsed by former Governor Scott Walker and Wichgers. Pat Goldammer (R-Waterford) is a former airline captain and a trustee for the Village of Waterford.
  • Assembly District 84: Three Republicans are campaigning to succeed Rep. Mike Kugltisch (R-New Berlin). Bob Donovan (R-Greenfield) is a former Milwaukee alderman and a run-off candidate for Mayor of Milwaukee in April 2022. David Karst (R-Greenfield) is the chairman of the Republican Party of Milwaukee County and was endorsed by former Governor Scott Walker. Laura Barker (R-Greenfield) is an office manager for Epikos Church. The winner will face LuAnn Bird (D-Hales Corners), the former executive director for the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin REALTORS Political Fund spends $150,000 to support Jon Kaiser in the 29th SD

According to an independent expenditure report filed with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, the Wisconsin REALTORS Political Fund spent an aggregate of $150,000 to support Jon Kaiser’s (R-Ladysmith) campaign for the 29th State Senate District seat.

The seat became open after six-term Assemblyman Jerry Petrowski decided not to run for re-elction. Kaiser is an investment adviser, realtor, and event promoter. He also served on the board of the REALTORS Association of Northwest Wisconsin Political Action Committee.

Kaiser will face off against Mosinee Mayor Brett Jacobson and Cory Tomczyk, a small business owner, for the Republican nomination August 9th. The winner will face Democratic candidate Bob Look (D-Rotschild) in the November general election.

Post-Sesion Updates

Broadband task force releases second annual report

Established in July 2020 by Governor Tony Evers, the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Access released its second annual report this week in which it called on state leaders to continue to support the expansion of high-speed internet access in Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Broadband Office, approximately 650,000 Wisconsin residents lack the infrastructure needed to deliver what the Federal Communications Commission considers high-speed internet. Furthermore, the same office estimates there are another 650,000 residents who can’t afford broadband service even if it is available. Although the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $65 billion for broadband infrastructure, the task force said local communities will need help to secure that funding. Recommendations from the task force include:

  • Sustain state broadband expansion funding to leverage federal funds and support local projects not eligible for federal funding.
  • Create a guide to assist communities and local leaders in broadband and digital equity planning efforts.
  • Create technical assistance programs to help communities develop plans and navigate funding opportunities.
  • Encourage and support coordination with tribal governments in broadband planning, resources deployment and funding.
  • Develop a statewide Digital Navigator Program to assist under-connected people and solve a range of adoption issues.
  • Develop and improve outreach for the federal Affordable Connectivity Program.
    Continue advancing the goals from the 2021 Task Force Report.
Read the full report

SCOWIS rules drop boxes are illegal

The Supreme Court of Wisconsin (SCOWIS) ruled in a 4-3 decision that absentee ballot drop boxes are illegal except when located in clerk’s offices, upholding a lower court’s ruling that absentee ballots must be delivered either by mail or in-person to a lower clerk’s office or designated alternate site. Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley, writing for the majority, said that only the State Legislature could authorize the use of absentee ballot drop boxes, not the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC). State law does not currently permit or prohibit the use of drop boxes.

In response to the decision, former President Donald Trump called upon Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) to decertify the results for the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin. Trump has repeatedly argued that the drop boxes facilitated fraudulent voting during the election. At a rally in Anchorage, Alaska, Trump claimed that “they just put these boxes all over the place and then they dumped them in. In other words, they systematically violated the law to rig the 2020 presidential election.”

Additionally, election officials from the City of Milwaukee said that they will increase the availability of staffed, curbside early voting drop-off opportunities in response to the ruling. The executive director of the Milwaukee Elections Commission said that about 40-50% of absentee voters used drop boxes during the 2020 election. She said they were secure because they were constantly surveilled and had security seals to determine whether they had been tampered with.

Majority Leader Steineke announces resignation from Assembly effective July 27

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) announced that he will resign from the Assembly on July 27th, months after he announced that he would not seek re-election in November. He said that his goal was to continue working as long as there was the possibility of action or another session in the Legislature.

“My time in the legislature has been incredibly rewarding, and it has been an honor to be trusted by the people of the 5th district to represent their voices in Madison, and I want to thank them for their support over the years.” Steineke said in a press release. “I want to further thank my colleagues both past and present for their friendship and their dedication to making Wisconsin a better place to live, work and raise a family. I’m proud to have served with them. Finally, to my staff over the years, you’re all amazing people that worked incredibly hard for me and the people of the state. Your service will never be forgotten.”

2022 Legislative Council Study Committee on the Commercial Building Permitting Process

The Joint Legislative Council’s (JLC) primary responsibility is to establish study committees to study major issues and problems identified by the Legislature. One of the study committees established in 2022 is focusing on the commercial building permitting process. Specifically, the study committee is looking at the current commercial building permitting process, including the commercial plan review process at the state and local levels, permitting timelines, and the role of the Commercial Building Code Council. As part of the review, the study committee will also evaluate approaches in other states and identify innovative and exemplary policies that could serve as a model for Wisconsin. Following this review, the committee will recommend legislation to improve the commercial building permitting process.

The JLC prepared a staff brief to provide background information to assist the study committee as it carries out its charge to review the commercial building permitting process. The staff brief includes the following parts:

  • Part I provides an overview of the state Commercial Building Code and the Commercial Building Code Council.
  • Part II summarizes the process for state and local review of commercial building plans.
  • Part III describes other state and local requirements affecting commercial development.
  • Part IV summarizes previous legislative proposals and regulatory changes.
  • Part V provides an overview of other states’ approaches to approving commercial building permits.
  • Part VI provides a one-page overview of the primary regulatory requirements applicable to commercial development in Wisconsin.

The staff brief will be presented to the members of the study committee on July 19, 2022, at 10:30 a.m. in Room 411 South, State Capitol. The agenda for meeting can be viewed here.

Read the staff brief

U.S. Senate Race

Barnes, Johnson release preliminary fundraising numbers for the second quarter

According to a statement from Ron Johnson’s campaign, the two term Republican Senator from Wisconsin managed to add more than $7 million to his war chest during the second quarter of 2022. Johnson’s campaign said it received 53,638 online donations with an average donation of $38. Ninety-six percent of all donations were under $200. The campaign was mum on how much cash it had on hand at the end of June.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and current Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes also released preliminary fundraising numbers for the second quarter. His campaign said it raised more than $2.1 million over the past three months.

Michael Best Strategies Capitol Insights will continue to report on fundraising numbers as they become available and will release a detailed breakdown of campaign financial reports in next week’s edition following the July 15 reporting deadline.

Barnes releases ad featuring his mom discussing her experience with having an abortion

Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes released a new television advertisement in his campaign in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. The ad, which will be aired on broadcast, cable, and digital throughout the state, is part of a multi-million dollar ad buy.

The ad is a response to the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade and the resulting outlawing of abortion across the nation. Barnes’ mother, Lajuan Barnes, says that she had abortion due to the health risks she was experiencing because of the pregnancy. Barnes says that “every woman has the right to make her own decision. And I’ll fight alongside you every step of the way until you do.”

In an accompanying press release, Barnes said that he is “committed to ending the filibuster to codify Roe v. Wade.”

Congressional Races

Preliminary fundraising numbers released

Fundraising numbers for the first half of 2022 continue to come in for members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Congressman Bryan Steil (WI-01) announced that he raised $563,299 through his campaign account, $46,900 through the Steil Victory Fund, and $25,000 through his leadership fund for a total of $620,000 raised in the second quarter. Steil’s campaign said he had $1.9 million on hand in his personal account. Steil’s opponent, Ann Roe (D-Janesville), reported $204,421 in receipts with $91,883 spent and $189,772 in the bank.

Congressman Tom Tiffany (WI-07) reported $178,295 in receipts for the second quarter, including $45,400 in committee contributions. He reported spending $162,803 and had $233,287 cash on hand to end the filing period.

Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) reported raising $126,822. He spent $156,249 and had $1 million cash on hand. Pocan also reported giving $10,000 each to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee.

Finance reports for state and federal candidates are due by midnight tonight. The report covers April 1st through June 30th for federal candidates and January 1st through June 30th for state candidates.

Cooke releases first ad

Businesswoman Rebecca Cooke released a new television advertisement as part of her campaign for the Democratic nomination for Wisconsin’s Third Congressional district. The ad is reportedly part of a six-figure buy.

According to a press release, the ad “…highlights Rebecca’s working-class roots and strong commitment to the people of western Wisconsin — from small business owners to farmers to union members.” The title of the press release also frames Cooke as the “only working-class candidate in [the] WI-03 race.”

The ad also highlights recent union endorsements to Cooke’s campaign, including the SEIU Wisconsin State Council and the International Union of Painters & Allied Traders District Council 82.

Fundraising Opportunities

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Wisconsin Campaign Fundraisers
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