In this update:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Debate Schedule
  • Governor’s Race
  • Attorney General’s Race
  • Budget Updates
  • Post-Session Updates
  • U.S. Senate Race
  • 3rd Congressional District Race
  • Fundraising Opportunities

Governor’s Race

Michels considers implementing “massive” tax reforms

While at an event on Tuesday, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels told supporters that he is open to the possibility of implementing a flat income tax if he is elected in November. During his remarks, Michels discussed how “inflation is running out of control” and that he is going to “sit down with all the smart tax people… [and] figure out how low we can get the income tax.” That was when Michels was asked if he would support the flat income tax, to which he responded that it looks like his administration could propose a flat income tax “around 5 percent.” Michels vow for “massive tax reform” also would include eliminating personal property taxes on businesses.

In a press release, the Badger Institute commended Michels for proposing that Wisconsin adopt a flat income tax of “around 5 percent,” a policy recommendation made by the Badger Institute and Tax Foundation in a report released in July. Tax Reform Options to Improve Wisconsin’s Competitiveness, authored by Tax Foundation senior policy analyst Katherine Loughead, recommends that Wisconsin move from a graduated income tax rate to a flat individual income tax.

Evers ad seeks to portray Michels as “radical” on abortion

Democratic Governor Tony Evers released a new ad that claims his GOP opponent Tim Michels said it “wouldn’t be unreasonable” for the government to mandate rape victims give birth. According to Evers’ campaign, the ad will run statewide, but additional details on the buy were not available.

Watch ad here: Twelve

GOP sheriffs featured in new Michels 

A new ad from GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels features three Republican county sheriffs who endorse Michels and claim Democratic Governor Tony Evers has released hundreds of violent criminals from prison. According to Michels’ campaign, the ad is part of a seven-figure buy that will run statewide.

Watch ad here: Doorstep

Republican Accountability PAC releases ads opposing Michels

Republican Accountability PAC is out with two new ads this week that feature alleged GOP and conservative voters who are opposed to Republican Tim Michels’ candidacy because of his positions on abortion and the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. According to the group, the ads are part of a $10 million campaign targeting “anti-democracy” Republicans in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia. The ads running in Wisconsin are part of a six-figure buy that will air on TV and digital platforms.

Watch first ad here: Joe

Watch second ad here: Debra

RGA ad links Evers to tax hikes

The Republican Governors Association (RGA) is out with a new ad that claims Governor Tony Evers supported several tax hikes even though Wisconsin families are struggling with high prices. RGA said the ad is part of a $913,781 TV buy that will run in the Green Bay, La Crosse and Wausau media markets.

Watch ad here: Wallet

Attorney General’s Race 

Kaul and Toney to debate October 27

First-term Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul and his GOP opponent Eric Toney are schedule to participate in a televised debate on October 27. The debate will air on WISC-TV in Madison and WKBT-TV in La Crosse, and will be livestreamed on and WISC-TV anchor Eric Franke will moderate the debate while WDJT-TV reporter Emilee Fannon and Editor JR Ross ask the candidates questions.

Budget Updates 

Evers calls for $101.4 million boost in shared revenue

Governor Tony Evers announced this week that he will include a $101.4 million increase to shared revenue in his upcoming FY 2023-25 biennial budget proposal with $10 million specifically earmarked to address EMS, police and fire costs. Evers is touting the increase in shared revenue as a strategy to bolster public safety statewide by enabling local governments to fund additional police and fire services. The added shared revenue would be distributed according to the state’s existing formula for divvying up the aid while the earmarked funds would be allocated on a per capita basis.

Evers has made similar proposals to increase shared revenue in the past to no avail. In both the FY 2019-21 and 2021-23 budgets, Evers called for increasing shared revenue to local governments by $15.4 million and $43.9 million respectively, but the GOP-controlled legislature rejected those plans and opted for less significant increases instead. “For the last decade, Republicans have forced communities and local partners to do more with less as costs for public services have gone up while state aid has been cut or held flat,” Evers said. “If we want to make sure we’re building safe, strong communities, then we need to invest in our folks at the local level who are doing the work on the ground and who know best what their communities need to be safe and successful.”

Joint Finance Assembly Co-chair Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) dismissed Evers’ proposal as political theatre. “Governor Evers says he stands for public safety but less than 10 percent of these funds go specifically to law enforcement and public safety personnel,” said Born. “This is another disingenuous election year stunt to convince voters that law enforcement is a priority for Governor Evers.”

Evers’ GOP opponent Tim Michels also dismissed the proposal as a distraction from Evers’ poor performance as governor. “Try as he might, Tony Evers can’t rewrite his abysmal public safety record of coddling criminals, vilifying law enforcement, and releasing brutal murderers and child rapists back on the streets,” said Michels spokesperson Anna Kelly. “Evers doesn’t care about public safety. He cares about getting re-elected.”

Post-Session Updates

Evers’ special session closes without debate, action

Governor Tony Evers’ special session to allow Wisconsin residents to propose citizen ballot initiatives quickly closed this week without debate or action. Senate President Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) gaveled the session in and out with no other Republicans and only three Democrats present in the upper chamber. In the Assembly, Speaker Pro-Tempore Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva) did the same with about a dozen Democrats in attendance.

Speaking to a group of supporters outside the Capitol following the closure of the special session, Governor Tony Evers lamented Republicans’ unwillingness to act on abortion. “I believe people deserve a voice since they’ve been failed by the Republicans in this building time and time again,” Evers said. “We should give the people an opportunity to vote on these important issues.” Evers also promised to be a “brick wall” against Republican attempts to restrict abortion access and recommended that since voters weren’t allowed to weigh in on abortion through a statewide referendum, they should do so at the ballot box in November.

Dane County claims success with PFAS pilot

Dane County and the Department of Military Affairs issued a news release on Tuesday which claims that a nine-month pilot PFAS remediation project removed 97% of PFOA & PFOS from groundwater. However, the release did not provide any data or disclose whether the treated water meets state or federal guidelines. Dane County Regional Airport spokesperson Michael Riechers said that the data will be released following its presentation to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources but did not disclose a date it will happen. Airport Director Kimberly Jones announced that the program will also be expanded to other parts of the airport, including one of two former training areas, known as “burn pits.” The Department of Natural Resources did not comment on the matter.

According to Dane County the cleanup was done by Orin Technologies, a company out of Verona, WI, and a Canadian company called Fixed Earth Innovations. The two companies have formed a new joint venture called Onur Solutions. The process for the cleanup involves injecting a mix of chemicals and bacteria into the soil along with electrodes that generate oxygen. According to Orin Technologies, this traps the PFAS so that the microbes can break them down. After 10 weeks at an “unnamed Midwest airport,” the company reported that the total PFAS concentration in groundwater below a 1,600 sq. foot area had been reduced by more than 96%.

U.S. Senate Race

Barnes raises over $20.1 million in Q3

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes issued a press release announcing his campaign raised more than $20.1 million from 230,000 total donors in the latest fundraising quarter that ended September 30. For comparison, Barnes had managed to raise nearly $6.1 million between the summer of 2021 and the close of the second quarter on June 30, according to

Barnes’ campaign touted his latest fundraising numbers as a sign of widespread support for the incumbent Lt. Governor. “It’s clear from the unparalleled grassroots support across the state that Wisconsinites stand with Mandela Barnes as he holds Ron Johnson accountable for supporting an abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the woman,” said Barnes spokeswoman Maddy McDaniel. “This quarter’s show of support is proof that Wisconsinites are ready to replace out-of-touch Ron Johnson and his dangerous record with the pro-worker, pro-choice champion Mandela Barnes.”

Johnson calls for statewide referendum on abortion access

While speaking at a Rotary Club of Milwaukee event Tuesday, GOP Senator Ron Johnson said he thinks Wisconsin voters should determine what limits should be placed on abortion access through a statewide referendum. “Nine justices couldn’t decide, I don’t think 535 members of Congress should decide, I don’t think 132 members of the Wisconsin state Legislature should decide this for Wisconsin,” Johnson said. “I think this is the time…for we the people to decide.”

Johnson said he has already put together a sample ballot that includes around ten choices to gauge voters’ opinions on “at what point does society have the responsibility to protect life?” Johnson acknowledged current state law does not allow for such a referendum to be held. However, he did not comment on Governor Tony Evers’ call for a special session asking the State Legislature to pass a law that would allow electors to hold a referendum similar to Johnson’s proposal. Alexa Henning, a spokeswoman for Johnson’s campaign, did issue a statement following the Rotary event that called Evers’ special session a “political move” that Democrats would use “to divide the public by exploiting the issue of abortion.” Henning went on to say in the statement that “because of the profound nature of this decision, the debate should not be rushed or used as a political instrument, but instead allow enough time for a thorough discussion.”

In response to his call for a statewide referendum, Johnson’s Democratic opponent Mandela Barnes issued a statement that said Johnson was attempting to “hide his extreme record” by “proposing a referendum that even he admitted is ‘not possible in Wisconsin.‘” Barnes is quoted in the statement as saying “Ron Johnson can’t hide from his anti-choice record –– from his co-sponsorship of a bill that made no exception for rape, incest, or life of the woman to his callous comments telling women who oppose abortion bans they ‘can move.’ Voters will hold him accountable for his efforts to rip away the right for women to make choices about their own bodies this fall.”

Watch Johnson’s Rotary event here

Johnson ad claims Barnes “mocks victims”

Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson is out with a new ad that focuses on a tweet sent by his Democratic opponent Mandela Barnes shortly after the shooting of U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) in 2017. Additional details on the ad were not available.

Watch ad here: One for the Team

Barnes claims Johnson has been lying in ads

Democratic U.S Senate candidate Mandela Barnes is out with a new ad that claims his Republican opponent U.S. Senator Ron Johnson has been “caught lying” about Barnes. According to Barnes’ campaign, the ad is part of a multi-million dollar campaign that will air statewide on broadcast, cable, and digital platforms.

Watch ad here: Lying

Planned Parenthood ad opposes Johnson re-election

Planned Parenthood Votes released an ad this week opposing GOP U.S. Senator Ron Johnson’s re-election due to his position on abortion. According to the group, the ad is part of a six-figure digital campaign in Wisconsin that seeks to highlight the “stark contrast” between “anti-abortion rights candidate” Johnson and his Democratic opponent Mandela Barnes.

Watch ad here: Fight Back

Wisconsin Family Friendly Action ads oppose Johnson over abortion

Wisconsin Family Friendly Action PAC released a package of new ads this week as part of a $1.5 million statewide digital campaign that will run on over-the-top, digital audio, premium video, and social media services. The new ads claim U.S. Senator Ron Johnson supports a nationwide abortion ban and highlight his Democratic opponent Mandela Barnes’ “commitment to protecting the right to choose in Wisconsin.”

Watch the new ads:

SLF ad highlights Barnes’ unpaid property taxes

A new ad from the Republican-aligned Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) claims Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes was delinquent in thousands of dollars of property taxes on a condo he owned in Milwaukee. According to AdImpact, the group is scheduled to spend $11 million over the next month leading up to the November 8th general election. Additional details on the spot were not available.

Watch the TV ad here: Peanut Butter

Listen to the radio ad here: Spreading

Johnson vote against veterans healthcare highlighted in new PAF ad

Democratic super PAC Progress Action Fund (PAF) released a new ad this week critical of U.S. Senator Ron Johnson for initially voting against a bill to enhance healthcare and disability benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits while deployed overseas. A spokesperson for PAF said the ad is part of a six-figure buy that will run statewide.

Watch the ad here: Ron Johnson First, America Last

3rd Congressional District Race

Pfaff ad says Van Orden part of Jan. 6 “riot” at Capitol

A new ad from Democratic State Senator and candidate for Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District seat Braf Pfaff claims his GOP opponent Derrick Van Orden was part of the “riot” that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Pfaff’s campaign said the spot is part of a six-figure buy that will run in the La Crosse market.

Watch the ad here: Patriot

Fundraising Opportunities

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Wisconsin Campaign Fundraisers

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