In this update:
- Upcoming Events
- Campaign Finance Roundup
- Governor’s Race
- Post-Session Updates
- U.S. Senate Race
- 1st Congressional District Race
- Fundraising Opportunities
Campaign Finance Roundup
Dollars Raised in September Filing Period: $4,566,074.25
Cash on Hand: $6,178,041.89
Dollars Raised in September Filing Period: $5,431,025.08
Cash on Hand: $1,180,557.68
Democratic Governor Tony Evers raised $4.56 million between July 26th and August 31st with nearly $1.6 million coming from the state Democratic Party and over $2.9 million coming from individual donors. Evers spent just under $6 million and finished the reporting period with $6.17 million in the bank. On the Republican side, GOP candidate for governor Tim Michels gave his campaign an additional $5 million between July 26th and August 31st, increasing his personal investment in the race to $15.7 million. Michels reported spending $4.4 million in the same period and finished August with just under $1.2 million cash on hand. Michels raised over $400,000 from donors other than himself with nearly half coming from 10 donors who gave the maximum contribution of $20,000.
Attorney General’s Race
Dollars Raised in September Filing Period: $481,131.83
Cash on Hand: $2,245,034.44
Dollars Raised in September Filing Period: $136,663
Cash on Hand: $120,749.79
Democratic AG Josh Kaul raised $481,132 between July 26th and August 31st. Committee contributions accounted for $138,233 of Kaul’s receipts with $117,482 coming from the state Democratic Party. An instructional coach from New York made the single highest individual contribution to Kaul by writing a $20,000 check. Kaul spent $241,443 and finished the reporting period with $2.24 million in the bank. On the Republican side, GOP AG candidate Eric Toney raised $136,663 between July 26th and August 31st. Five individuals from Wisconsin wrote Toney checks for $20,000 each, accounting for $100,000 of contributions received during the reporting period. Committees only accounted for $825 of all contributions. Toney spent $51,951 and finished the reporting period with $120,749 cash on hand.
Evers participates in student roundtable at UW-Milwaukee
Democratic Governor Tony Evers recently participated in a student roundtable at UW-Milwaukee where a range of issues were discussed. Students were given the chance to ask Evers questions and share their concerns with the governor. Evers provided his input on issues from climate change and college affordability to funding for the arts and replacing lead water service lines in Milwaukee.
Speaking about the downward trend in funding for the arts, Evers called it an “economic issue” and said “companies aren’t going to move to Wisconsin if they think it’s an art wasteland. It’s not gonna happen.” Evers attributed recent economic growth in the state to the strong arts community that currently exists. “We now have companies coming to Wisconsin because of the climate around art,” Evers said. “They do that because the employees they employ when they come here want a rounded life outside of work.”
On the issue of replacing the 67,000 lead water service lines in Milwaukee, Evers indicated the $79 million in federal assistance provided to Milwaukee would likely not be enough to fund the entire project. However, the Governor said he was committed to including additional funding for the replacement program in his upcoming budget proposal. Evers also signaled concerned that even if the funding were available, the workforce required to replace the pipes was not. “I’m a little concerned about the ability for us to have enough human beings to do the work,” Evers said. “Wisconsin’s population is static at best; something we’ve got to work on.”
Polling in Governor’s Race remains within Margin of Error
Four new polls released this week continued to show the race for governor is close. A new poll from Trafalgar Group found Democratic Governor Tony Evers had the support of 47% of likely voters while his GOP rival Tim Michels was backed by 47.7%. The poll of 1,087 likely voters was conducted September 15-19 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.9%. Trafalgar uses a mix of several methods to deliver its polling questionnaire including live callers, integrated voice response, text messages, emails, and two other digital methods it will not publicly disclose. FiveThirtyEight rates Trafalgar an A- pollster.
A new poll from Fabrizio, Lee & Associates commissioned by AARP found Evers had the support of 47% of likely voters while his Michels was backed by 50%. The poll of 1,399 likely voters was conducted September 18-25 via landline (30%), cellphone (35%), and SMS-to-web (35%). The margin of error for the statewide sample of 500 likely voters is +/- 4.4%. FiveThirtyEight rates Fabrizio a B/C pollster.
A new poll from Fox News found that the Wisconsin gubernatorial race is tied with Tony Evers and Tim Michels both having the support of 47% of registered voters. The poll was conducted by Deacon Research and Shaw & Company between September 22-26, and included interviews with registered voters randomly selected from the state voter records. Voters spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The margin of error of the sample of 1,012 Wisconsin registered voters is +/- 3%. FiveThirtyEight rates Fox News/Beacon Research/Shaw & Co. as an A pollster.
A poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP) found Evers had the support of 48% of registered voters while Michels was backed by 46%. The poll of 574 registered voters was conducted September 26-27 using automated calls to landlines and texts to cell phones, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.1%. FiveThirtyEight rates PPP an A- pollster.
- FiveThirtyEight’s composite polling score favors Evers +0.9.
- RealClearPolitics’ polling spread favors Evers +0.8.
Evers ad scrutinizes Michels’ charitable giving
Democratic Governor Tony Evers’ campaign is out with a new ad that scrutinizes donations made by Tim Michels’ family foundation to a pro-life advocacy group. According to the Evers campaign, the spot will run on broadcast and cable statewide. Additional details on the buy were not available.
See the ad: Tracking
Michels ad claims Evers has released violent criminals
Republican candidate for governor Tim Michels released a new ad that claims Democratic Governor Tony Evers “broke his promise” to not release violent criminals from prison. According to the Michels campaign, the ad is part of a seven-figure buy that will run statewide on TV and digital.
See the ad: Broke
Ad from Sunrise in America ties Evers to Parole Commission
A new ad from Sunrise in America Political Fund seeks to tie Democratic Governor Tony Evers to violent criminals released from prison by the Wisconsin Parole Commission. According to a spokesman for the PAC, the ad is part of a $350,00 buy airing in the Milwaukee and Green Bay media markets.
See the ad: Life
NRA ad claims Evers supports radical “anti-gun” policies
The NRA Political Victory Fund is out with a new 60-second radio ad that is critical of Democratic Governor Tony Evers’ gun control policies. According to a recent filing with the state Ethics Commission, the group reported spending $281,691 in the race for governor. According to an NRA spokesperson, the spot will run for three weeks in the Appleton, Oshkosh, Eau Claire, Green Bay, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Wausau media markets.
Listen to the ad: NRA RADIO AD: Vote Freedom First
Kaul submits DOJ budget
Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul recently submitted the state Department of Justice’s (DOJ) FY 2023-25 budget request. The DOJ is seeking a $95.7 million increase in general purpose revenue for the 2023-25 biennium. According to a DOJ press release, the budget prioritizes fighting crime by funding law enforcement, keeping kids safe, and addressing the opioid epidemic. “My crime fighting budget proposes investing in law enforcement, protecting kids, and combatting the opioid and meth epidemics,” said Kaul. “In the next state budget, it’s critical that the legislature finally ensures that communities have the resources they need for public safety.”
Kaul’s GOP opponent Eric Tony told WisPolitics.com the Democratic AG’s proposed budget is “gutting” DCI of agents and prosecutors. Toney was also critical of Kaul’s leadership over the Wisconsin State Crime Labs. “Kaul’s also mismanaged our crime labs as Milwaukee is on pace for a third straight murder record during a period of historic violence and a drug epidemic,” Toney said. ‘I will immediately fill these vacant positions at the DOJ.” In response, Kaul campaign spokesman Joe Oslund said Toney hasn’t proposed any specific changes to the budget to improve public safety. “Eric Toney doesn’t seem to have any critique of AG Kaul’s budget, and he refuses to say whether he’d stand up to his own party and call for the GOP-led Legislature to increase shared revenues and fund local law enforcement across Wisconsin,” Oslund said.
Significant requests from DOJ relative to the goals identified are as follows:
Fighting Crime by Funding Law Enforcement:
- Adding 19 special agent and criminal analyst positions to assist in investigating crime.
- Adding 16 DNA analysts, toxicologists, and crime scene response specialists to help bolster the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratories’ investigative capacity.
- Adding 2 violent crime prosecutors to expand DOJ’s capacity to take on more criminal prosecutions.
- Requesting funding for a grant program to support law enforcement recruitment, retention, and wellness.
- Requesting funding for grant program to support community policing and prosecution.
Keeping Kids Safe:
- Requesting state funding for the Office of School Safety. Federal funding set to expire by end of 2023.
- Adding special agent and criminal analyst positions for the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), which investigates and arrests suspects accused of internet crimes against children.
Combatting the Opioid Epidemic:
- Adding toxicology staff for the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratories.
- Requesting additional resources for the Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) program to help with technical assistance, review, and evaluation.
DOJ’s full request can be found here
IRG analysis finds $7.5 billion increase in government spending
The Institute for Reforming Government (IRG), an organization that advocates for efficient and functioning government, recently released an analysis of the 2023-2025 budget requests submitted this month by state agencies and found that the proposed requests would increase government spending by more than $7.5 billion. Some of the requests from state agencies that IRG highlighted as particularly concerning include:
- The Department of Public Instruction is requesting more than $2.4 billion despite serving fewer students than during the previous budget and after districts received $1.5 billion in federal recovery funding.
- The UW System is requesting more than $435 million in new funding and 783 new positions.
- The Department of Health Services is requesting more than $3.7 billion in new funding over the next two years.
View the full IRG report here
U.S. Senate Race
New polls continue to show tight U.S. Senate Race
Four new polls released this week showed a close race between Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and his Democratic opponent Mandela Barnes. A new poll from Trafalgar Group showed Johnson had the support of 48.7% of likely voters while Barnes was backed by 46.5%. The poll of 1,087 likely voters was conducted September 15-19 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.9%. Trafalgar uses a mix of several methods to deliver its polling questionnaire including live callers, integrated voice response, text messages, emails, and two other digital methods it will not publicly disclose. FiveThirtyEight rates Trafalgar an A- pollster.
A new poll from Fabrizio, Lee & Associates commissioned by AARP found Johnson had the support of 51% of likely voters while his Barnes was backed by 46%. The poll of 1,399 likely voters was conducted September 18-25 via landline (30%), cellphone (35%), and SMS-to-web (35%). The margin of error for the statewide sample of 500 likely voters is +/- 4.4%. FiveThirtyEight rates Fabrizio a B/C pollster.
A new poll from Fox News found that Johnson had the support of 48% of registered voters while Barnes had the support of 44%. The poll was conducted by Deacon Research and Shaw & Company between September 22-26, and included interviews with registered voters randomly selected from the state voter records. Voters spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The margin of error of the sample of 1,012 Wisconsin registered voters is +/- 3%. FiveThirtyEight rates Fox News/Beacon Research/Shaw & Co. as an A pollster.
A poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP) found Johnson had the support of 47% of registered voters while Barnes was also backed by 47%. 6% of respondents were unsure of who they would vote for. The poll of 574 registered voters was conducted September 26-27 using automated calls to landlines and texts to cell phones, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.1%. FiveThirtyEight rates PPP an A- pollster.
- FiveThirtyEight’s composite polling score favors Johnson +1.9.
- RealClearPolitics’ polling spread favors Johnson +2.3.
Johnson and Barnes agree to two televised debates
Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and his Democratic opponent Mandela Barnes have agreed to participate in two televised debates prior to the November 8th general election. The first debate will be hosted by the Wisconsin Broadcast Association on October 7th. The second debate will be hosted by WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) on October 13th. A third town hall-style event is being planned by WISN-TV (Channel 12), but so far only Johnson has agreed to participate in that event. Barnes — on the other hand — has challenged Johnson to participate in a forum hosted by the Wisconsin Farmers Union and Main Street Alliance in Oshkosh.
“I’m willing to tell Wisconsinites what I believe,” Johnson said. “There’s one person hiding who doesn’t want Wisconsin to know what he truly believes. And that’s Mandela Barnes. I’m happy to be transparent and honest.” Barnes campaign manager Kory Kozloski told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Barnes “looks forward to holding [Johnson] accountable for his record of putting himself and his wealthy donors first on the debate stage in Milwaukee, and then in his own backyard in Oshkosh.”
Johnson counters criticism in latest ad
Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson is out with a new ad that features the two-term Senator defending himself from Democratic ads critical of his record. According to Johnson’s campaign, the spot is airing on TV, but did not provide additional details.
See the ad: Puppies
Everytown for Gun Safety ad ties Johnson to gun violence
A new ad from Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund claims Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson has enabled rising crime and gun violence. According to a press release from the advocacy group, the spot is part of a $1 million paid media campaign in Wisconsin that will run on TV in the Madison and Milwaukee markets.
See the ad: Worse (Wisconsin)
Senate Majority PAC ad links Johnson to China
Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic aligned super PAC, released a new ad this week that claims GOP U.S. Senator Ron Johnson has profited from Chinese investments and business ties. Additional details on the ad such as how much was spent or where it will run were not available.
See the ad: WI – How It Works
Climate Power, LCV ad supports Barnes on climate change
A new ad from Climate Power and the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) touts Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Mandela Barnes’ efforts to address climate change. According to Climate Power, the ad will run statewide and is part of a broader $2 million effort across three states.
See the ad: Mandela Barnes: Generation (30s)
1st Congressional District Race
Steil releases second TV ad of re-election campaign
Republican Congressman Bryan Steil’s re-election campaign announced this week that they are dropping their second ad in which unidentified supporters say Steil is “getting things done for us.” The ad is part of a six figure buy and will run on broadcast and cable across southeastern Wisconsin.
Watch the full ad here: Voices – Steil for Wisconsin
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.