In this update:
- Upcoming Events
- Debate Schedule
- ICYMI: MU Law School Poll Results
- Governor’s Race
- Attorney General’s Race
- U.S. Senate Race
- 3rd Congressional District Race
- Fundraising Opportunities
ICYMI: MU Law School Poll Results
Marquette University Law School Poll released a new statewide poll on Wednesday, October 12th. Please click the image below to view the full report and analysis from Michael Best Strategies.
Evers talks shared revenue, abortion, and Kenosha response at luncheon
Governor Tony Evers made a stop in Milwaukee on Wednesday to speak at a luncheon hosted by the Milwaukee Press Club, WisPolitics.com and Rotary Club of Milwaukee. Evers touched on a number of topics including his stances on shared revenue and abortion, as well as his adminstration’s response to the civil unrest in Kenosha.
Evers said his top priorty for the next budget is to increase shared revenue with local municipalites. “Cities and counties do the hard work in this state,” said Evers. “Whether it’s police, fire, EMT, courts — cities and counties do that work.” Regarding abortion, Evers said he would not sign a bill that bans abortion except in cases of rape or incest “because that leaves the underlying law in place, which is a ban on abortion here. Because politicians in Wisconsin decided that they know more than the women; the women that want to have reproductive health decisions made by themselves.”
On the civil unrest in Kenosha, Evers defended his administration’s reponse. “I did everything I was asked to do and I’d do it again if I needed to,” the governor said. Evers called the violence and protests that followed the 2020 officer-involved shooting in Kenosha “civil disruptions” and said he immediately provided the law enforcement and military assets requested by local authorities.
Evers’ GOP opponent Tim Michels took exception to the governor charaterizing the violence in Kenosha as a “civil disturbance.” Michels posted a series of tweets claiming Evers “fanned the flames of violence, blamed police, and turned down help in Kenosha.” In response, Evers told reporters that he “understands… a civil disruption is a riot,” but the label given to the unrest is “not the issue.” Evers said “the issue is what I did. I did everything that law enforcement asked me to do in Kenosha County. Bottom story, Tim Michels wants to talk about this issue until the cows come home; that’s his issue.“
Polling in governor’s race remains within margin of error
Two new polls released this week continue to show a tight race for governor. A new Marquette University Law School poll found Democratic Governor Tony Evers had the support of 47% of likely voters while his GOP rival Tim Michels was backed by 46%. The poll of 652 likely voters was conducted October 3-9 using landline or cell phone and has a margin of error of +/- 4.8%. FiveThirtyEight rates MU Law School an A/B pollster.
A new CBS News poll found 50% of likely voters supported Governor Tony Evers (D-Plymouth) while 50% backed his GOP opponent Tim Michels. The poll of 1,138 registered voters was weighted according to gender, age, race, education and geographic region. It was conducted October 3-7 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%. FiveThirtyEight rates CBS News an A- pollster.
Evers ads claim Michels is “wrong for Wisconsin”
Democratic Governor Tony Evers is out with three new ads this week that portray his GOP opponent Tim Michels as “wrong for Wisconsin.” The first ad scrutinizes Michels business practices, the second ad claims Michels wants to “criminalize abortion,” and the third ad claims Michels’ stance on guns is “too radical.” According to Evers’ campaign, the ads will run on cable and broadcast statewide, but additional details were not provided.
Watch business ad here: Dishonest
Watch Abortion ad here: Anna
Watch gun ad here: Students
Michels launches three new ads
GOP candidate Tim Michels launched three new TV ads this week in his bid to become Wisconsin’s next governor. One ad features former Gov. Tommy Thompson who says Michels is the right person to “fix” Wisconsin. The second ad features Michels promising to “tear down” Governor Tony Evers’ agenda. The third ad highlights Evers’ handling of the Kenosha civil unrest in 2020. According to AdImpact, Michels and his supporters are projected to spend $11.1 million on paid media campaign through the election, compared to the $18.9 million by Evers and his team.
Watch the first ad here: Governor Tommy Thompson
Watch the second ad here: Tear Down
Watch the third ad here: Politics
Sexual harassment allegations featured in latest anti-Michels ads from DGA
The Democratic Governors Association is out with two news ads this week opposing GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels. Both ads highlight sexual harassment allegations made by former employees of the Michels Corporation, which is co-owned by Tim Michels. Additional details on the spots were not available.
Watch the first ad here
Watch the second ad here
Evers and parole commission subject of new RGA ads
The Republican Governors Association is out with two new ads this week opposing Governor Tony Evers’ re-election. Both ads feature the siblings of homicide victims who question why Evers would allow the parole commission to release murderers from prison early. According to WisPolitics.com, RGA is set to spend nearly $6.6 million between now and the November 8th general election.
Watch the first ad here
Watch the second ad here
Future Forward ads oppose Michels over abortion, “culture wars”
Future Forward USA, a liberal advocacy group which says its mission is “to help rebuild America’s middle class,” released two new ads this weeks opposing GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels. The first ad claims Michels has a “culture war agenda,” while the second ad says Michels’ proposed cuts to public school budgets is “too radical for Wisconsin.” According to AdImpact, Future Forward only started running ads in the governor’s race this month and has more than $2.5 million reserved in TV advertising through the November 8th general election.
Watch the public school ad here
Watch the culture wars ad here
Project Democracy ad endorses Evers re-election
Project Democracy, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to fighting against efforts to undermine Americans’ right to free, fair, and fully informed self-government, released a new ad this week endorsing Democratic Governor Tony for re-election. The group claims GOP candidate Tim Michels declined to sign a pledge that he would accept election results. According to Project Democracy, the ad is part of a six-figure digital buy that will run statewide.
WMC ad critical of Evers’ education policies
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) released a new ad this week that claims “our schools are failing our kids” because of Tony Evers’ education policies. One version of the ad will run statewide while the other will run in Milwaukee. According to WMC, the ads are part of a six-figure buy that will air on streaming and digital platforms.
Watch the statewide version here: WMC IMC – Failing Schools
Watch the Milwaukee version here: WMC IMC – Failing Schools – Milwaukee
Attorney General’s Race
Kaul touts accomplishments in first TV ad
Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul released the first TV ad in his bid for re-election this week. The ad features Kaul, who touts his efforts to put violent criminals in jail and eliminate the backlog of rape test kits. Kaul’s campaign said the spot will air in the Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, La Crosse-Eau Claire and Wausau-Rhinelander markets. According to AdImpact, Kaul has $1.6 million reserved on TV through the November 8th general election while the Democratic Attorneys General Association has committed another $1.5 million.
Wisconsin Freedom PAC ad claims Kaul “doesn’t care” about police or prosecutors
A new ad from the conservative advocacy group Wisconsin Freedom PAC alleges that Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul has “put public safety at the bottom” by cutting officer training funds and “gutting” the state prosecutors office. The group said the ad is running statewide as part of an ongoing seven-figure advocacy campaign.
U.S. Senate Race
Johnson, Barnes face off in second debate
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) and his Democratic rival Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes met in their second debate of the campaign Thursday night. Johnson largely focused on Barnes’ lack of experience in the private sector and purported soft on crime polices, as well as Democrats’ handling of the economy and immigration issues. Johnson repeatedly said Barnes was an “actor” and claimed “falsehoods seems to roll off [Barnes’] tongue.”
Barnes, on the other hand, focused on Johnson’s support for overturning federal abortion protections and his involvement in the January 6, 2021, violence at the U.S. Capitol. “In Ron Johnson’s America, women won’t get to make the best choice for their health care,” Barnes said. Barnes also repeatedly questioned Johnson’s success as a businessman in the private sector and claimed Johnson’s biggest accomplishment in business was saying, “I do,” implying the senator married into his business as a plastics manufacturer.
Barnes, Dems increase spending on paid media
U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes and his Democratic backers managed to ramp up their paid media spending over the last month, nearly closing a $3.2 million gap that U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and his GOP allies had accumulated at the end of September. According to AdImpact, as of September 27, Republicans had a $3.2 million advantage in TV, radio, and digital spending through the November 8 general election. This week, that gap was reduced to $715,000, with Republicans having $14.5 million reserved compared to Democrats’ $13.8 million. The increase in spending comes after Barnes announced he raised $20.1 million in the third quarter and then another $1.5 million following his first debate with Johnson.
The next round of campaign finance reports for federal candidates are due October 15.
New polls released in U.S. Senate Race
Two new polls released this week showed U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) inching ahead of his Democratic rival Mandela Barnes among likely voters. A new Marquette University Law School poll found Johnson had the support of 52% of likely voters while his Barnes was backed by 46%. The poll of 652 likely voters was conducted October 3-9 using landline or cell phone and has a margin of error of +/- 4.8%. FiveThirtyEight rates MU Law School an A/B pollster.
A new CBS News poll found 50% of likely voters supported Johnson while 49% backed Barnes. The poll of 1,138 registered voters was weighted according to gender, age, race, education and geographic region. It was conducted October 3-7 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%. FiveThirtyEight rates CBS News an A- pollster.
Barnes releases internal poll
A new internal poll released by Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes found 48% of likely voters backed Barnes while 47% supported Republican U.S. Senator Johnson. The poll of 874 likely voters was conducted by Clarity Campaign Labs October 7-11 using a mix of automated calls to landlines and live calls to cell phones. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.3%. FiveThirtyEight rates Clarity Campaign Labs a B/C pollster.
Johnson releases two new ads on crime
This week GOP Senator Ron Johnson’s campaign released two new ads critical of Democratic candidate Mandela Barnes’ positions on crime. The first spot features Ozaukee County Sheriff Jim Johnson and Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson who talk about Barnes wanting to defund the police and spend “your money on police protection for himself.” The second ad from the Johnson campaign is in partnership with the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The ad features a clip of Barnes saying reducing prison populations is “sexy.” Additional details on the spots were not available.
Watch the “defund the police” ad here
Watch the prison populations ad here
Barnes ad links Johnson to Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol violence
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes launched a new ad this week linking Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson to the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. According to the Barnes campaign, the spot is part of a multi-million dollar campaign that will run statewide.
Wisconsin Truth PAC ad says Barnes is “oblivious”
Wisconsin Truth PAC released a new TV ad which began airing on Thursday that calls Democratic Senate candidate Mandela Barnes “oblivious” to inflation, evaporating retirement savings, and crashing home values. The ad points to Barnes’ support of a massive tax increase on the middle class, “army of IRS agents,” and support of President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. There is no information available on the cost of the ad or where it will be running. Wisconsin Truth PAC has been funded largely by Republican megadonors Diane Hendricks and Elizabeth Uihlein.
Barnes’ failure to pay property taxes subject of SLF ad
The GOP-aligned Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) released an ad targeting Barnes’ support of raising taxes despite the fact that he allegedly avoided paying property taxes in the past. Barnes has voiced support for raising the gas tax nearly 30 percent, a billion-dollar tax increase on Wisconsin families and an income tax as high as 70 percent. According to AdImpact, SLF has been the biggest spender in Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race. From August 1 through the November 8 general election, the group is poised to spend $23.6 million.
Watch the ad here
AFT- Wisconsin radio ad claims Johnson wants to cut Social Security
The Wisconsin Branch of the American Federation of Teachers is out with a new radio ad on rural stations which claims Senator Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) wants to cut social security. The ad is a part of a five-figure buy, with plans to expand.
Watch the ad here: Social Security – The Rest of Us
Johnson’s record on abortion featured in latest Senate Majority PAC ad
The Dem-aligned Senate Majority PAC released an ad critical of incumbent Senator Ron Johnson’s (R-Oshkosh) support of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, which outlawed abortions in Wisconsin “even for victims of rape and incest.” Senate Majority PAC has reserved $19.3 million in Wisconsin ad buys from August 1 through the November 8 general election.
VoteVets ad says Johnson “only serves himself”
VoteVets released a a new ad this week opposing U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh). The ad is critical of Johnson for signing a tax cut that benefitted himself and his donors. The ad also features a Vietnam War veteran claiming Johnson is a self-serving senator who has made people “feel left behind.” VoteVets said it’s spending $1 million on the ad, which will run on broadcast and cable TV in Green Bay.
3rd Congressional District Race
Republicans continue to outspend Democrats in 3rd CD race
AdImpact has reported that between August 10th and October 3rd, Republicans have spent roughly $1.4 million on the 3rd Congressional District race, while Democrats have spent $150,000. Additionally, AdImpact projects that through election day Republicans will spend another $2.7 million compared to an anticipated $1.9 million from Democrats.
J.R. Ross, editor of Wispolitics.com, stated on UpFront this week that the events transpiring in the 3rd Congressional District are a prime example that “Western Wisconsin has gotten Trumpier the last six to eight years.” Despite this and the spending gap, Ross predicts that “help is coming for Brad Pfaff,” but that measure alone may not be enough. Ross additionally points to other data on the number of ads voters in the 3rd Congressional District have consumed which has produced a 2-1 advantage for Van Orden.
UVA’s “Crystal Ball” rates 3rd CD as “likely Republican”
The University of Virginia’s “Crystal Ball” has moved Wisconsin’s 3rd CD from “lean Republican” to “likely Republican.” The 3rd Congressional District race was one of three House races in which the organization changed its rating. The Crystal Ball cited that its reasoning for the change was that the House Majority PAC was likely to cancel its nearly $1.7 million media buy to back Brad Pfaff. According to AdImpact, the buy was not planned to start until the final two weeks of the race and made up the bulk of the $2.2 million in ads that Pfaff and his supporters were planning to run in the four final weeks. It was one of three House races where the organization changed its rating.
In its reasoning, “Crystal Ball” cited reporting in Axios over the weekend that the House Majority PAC was likely to cancel its nearly $1.7 million media buy backing Dem Brad Pfaff, a state senator from Onalaska. On the GOP side, Derrick Van Orden and his supporters are planning to spend $2.5 million during that time frame, resulting in a GOP advantage of the number of ads planned to run. Crystal Ball also stated that “Pfaff is going against history: 1990 was the most recent midterm where the White House party held an open seat in a district that the sitting president lost 2 years earlier.”
CFC ad links Van Orden to Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol violence
The Center Forward Committee (CFC) released an ad opposing Derrick Van Orden. The ad highlights the January 6th violence at the U.S. Capitol in 2021, emphasizing Van Orden’s alleged connections to the events that transpired. The ad claims Van Orden tried to cover up his involvement in the attacks, branding him a “liar lawbreaker.” According to AdImpact, CFC reserved $497,485 on TV in the La Crosse market late last week.
Watch the ad here
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.