In this update:

  • ‘Meet the Cabinet’ Recap
  • Election Updates
  • Administration Updates

‘Meet the Cabinet’ Recap

Medicaid Director Bill Hanna featured guest at Michal Best luncheon

Michael Best Strategies hosted Medicaid Director Bill Hanna at the Madison Office on Friday as a part of our ‘Meet the Cabinet’ series. Director Hanna met with clients, answered questions, and spoke about priorities for Wisconsin’s Medicaid program. Director Hanna was appointed Wisconsin’s Medicaid Director in 2024 and has fifteen years of Medicaid expertise.

Election Updates

MU poll recap

Marquette University Law School Poll released a new statewide poll on Wednesday, April 17th. Looking ahead to the November Elections, the poll found:

  • 49% of registered voters supported President Biden, while 51% backed former President Trump.
  • 52% of registered voters supported U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, while 47% backed GOP U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde.
  • ICYMI: For an in-depth analysis of the poll from Michael Best, click here.

State Assembly and Senate

Incumbent lawmaker re-election announcements

More lawmakers this week announced their intentions to run for re-election under the new 2023 Act 94 legislative district maps. Listed below are the latest announcements from legislators.

  • Rep. Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee) announced his bid for the 15th AD. Rep. Neylon was first elected in 2013 and was drawn into the 15th under the new maps. The new 15th AD has a 57.3% GOP lean. Sarah Harrison (D-Brookfield) is also running for the seat.
  • Rep. Supreme Moore Omokunde (D-Milwaukee) told WisPolitics he will run for reelection in the 17th AD. He has represented the 17th since 2020. The new 17th AD has an 84.4% Democratic lean.
  • Rep. Amy Binsfeld (R-Sheboygan) announced she is running for the 26th AD. She was redrawn into the 25th with Rep. Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) under the new maps, so she will be moving into the 26th to run for reelection. The new 26th AD has a 51% Democratic lean.
  • Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) announced his reelection campaign for the 34th AD. Rep. Swearingen has served in the 34th AD since 2012. The new 34th AD has a 58.7% GOP lean.
  • Rep. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) announced she is seeking reelection in the 66th AD. Rep. Neubauer has represented the district since 2018. Christian Kuether (R-Racine) is also running in the 66th AD. The new 66th AD has a 55.6% Democratic lean.
  • Rep. Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer) announced his candidacy for the 68th AD. He was redrawn into the 68th AD with Rep. James Edming (R-Glen Flora) who announced his retirement this week. The new 68th has a 66.9% GOP lean.

Not running for re-election

Representative James “Jimmy Boy” Edming (R-Glen Flora) announced this week that he will not seek re-election. He joins 20 other incumbent lawmakers in not seeking re-election to their current office in 2024.

  • Rep. James Edming (R-Glen Flora) announced he will not seek re-election in the fall. Rep. Edming has represented the 87th AD for almost ten years and said in his press release, “While it will be hard to walk away, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve over these past ten years and look forward to what the next chapter holds.” Rep. Edming was paired with Rep. Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer) in the 68th AD under the new maps.

* Partisan Performance was calculated using the election results from the 2022 U.S. Senate election, the 2022 Wisconsin Gubernatorial election, and the 2020 Presidential Election.

Non-incumbent election announcements

State Assembly

  • 28th: Brady Penfield (R-River Falls) announced his candidacy for the 28th AD. He is currently a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where he created the College Republicans Club. The 28th does not have any incumbent lawmakers. Former state representative Rob Kreibich (R-New Richmond) has also announced his bid for the seat. The new 28th AD has a 63% GOP lean.
  • 51st: Elizabeth Grabe (D-Mount Horeb) announced her bid for the 51st AD. She is a member of the Mount Horeb Village Sustainability and Natural Resources Committee, a Realtor, and a hemp farmer. Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) is the incumbent for the 51st, but under the new maps, the district has a 54.6% Democratic lean.
  • 62nd: Angelina Cruz (D-Racine) announced her candidacy for the 62nd AD. Ms. Cruz is a twenty-year veteran public school teacher and served as President of Racine Educators United since 2016. The 62nd is an open district with a 61.1% Democratic lean.
  • 90th: Amaad Rivera Wagner (D-Green Bay) announced his candidacy for the 90th AD. He is currently the Chief of Staff to Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich. Rep. Kristina Shelton (D-Green Bay) was drawn into the 90th AD but announced she will not be seeking reelection, leaving the seat open. The new 90th AD has a 55.4% Democratic lean.

State Senate

  • 2nd SD: Former journalist Kelly Peterson (D-Appleton) announced her bid for the 2nd SD. The new 2nd SD has no incumbent lawmaker after Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay), who currently represents the district, was redrawn into the 30th SD with Sen. Eric Wimberger (R-Green Bay) and Sen. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere). Sen. Cowles announced that he is not seeking re-election. Sen. Wimberger previously announced he will be running for the 2nd SD. The 2nd SD has a 62.8% GOP lean.
  • 20th SD: Former state Rep. Tim Ramthun (R-Campbellsport) announced he will run for the 20th SD. Ramthun served two terms in the Assembly before leaving to run for governor. State Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) was drawn into the district under the new maps and is running for re-election. The new 20th SD has a 67.7% GOP lean.

* Partisan Performance was calculated using the election results from the 2022 U.S. Senate election, the 2022 Wisconsin Gubernatorial election, and the 2020 Presidential Election.

U.S. President

Fox News releases new Wisconsin poll

Fox News released a new Wisconsin poll that shows President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump tied at 48%. In January, their poll showed a similar result with both candidates tied at 47%. When third-party candidates were included in the April poll, the breakdown was Biden 43%, Trump 41%, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. 9%, and Jill Stein and Cornel West at 2% each.

The poll surveyed 1,198 registered voters in Wisconsin April 11-16 with live interviewers over landlines and cellphones and online after respondents were contacted via text. The margin of error was +/- 3 percentage points, and the results were weighted by age, race, education and area variables to ensure the demographics reflect the registered voter population.

U.S. Senate

Baldwin and Hovde announce fundraising

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) and GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde announced their fundraising totals for the first quarter of 2024. Sen. Baldwin raised $5.4 million and spent $3.1 million. Eric Hovde raised almost $1.1 million from donors since his late February campaign announcement, loaned his campaign $8 million and spent $3.7 million according to his filing.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D)

$5.4 million raised

$3.1 million spent

$10.2 million cash on hand

Eric Hovde (D)

$9.06 million raised

$3.7 million spent

$5.3 million cash on hand

Baldwin launches ad on efforts to stop spread of fentanyl

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) released her third ad on her efforts to stop the spread of fentanyl. The spot is running on TV and digital platforms statewide and was included in a previously announced nine-figure buy.

Watch the ad here.

Fix Washington PAC launches new digital ad

The Fix Washington PAC launched a new digital ad, claiming U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) is “not working for us anymore.” They filed with the FEC, reporting $220,865 for a digital buy to oppose Sen. Baldwin and support Eric Hovde (R). The ad includes a 30-second and 15-second version of the ad.

Watch the 30-second ad here.

Watch the 15-second ad here.

U.S. House of Representatives

1st CD Race

Peter Barca announced bid for the 1st CD

Former Wisconsin Department of Revenue Secretary Peter Barca has launched his campaign to challenge U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) in the 1st CD. Barca said he is running because “I have always stood up for working families,” referring to creating good-paying jobs; lowering costs and delivering tax relief to middle class families; and expanding access to health care.

Barca held the seat thirty years ago after he won a 1993 special election to fill the vacancy created by Wisconsin Congressman Les Aspin’s appointment to be US Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton. Barca won the special election over Republican Mark Neumann by just 675 votes. Barca lost his re-election in 1994 in a re-match with Neumann by 1,120 votes. Prior to serving in Congress, Barca served in the state legislature for eight years. In 2008, Barca returned to the State Assembly and served in that body for another 10 years before being one of Governor Tony Evers first cabinet appointments.

In the last general election for the 1st CD, Congressman Bryan Steil won the seat by nearly nine points. Racine County Emergency Management coordinator and Navy Reserve intelligence officer Lorenzo Santos and healthcare professional Diane Anderson have also announced plans to run for the Democratic nomination for the seat.

Steil files finance report

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) filed his finance report with the FEC which shows he raised $638,823 the first quarter in 2024. He also reported the largest cash on hand among Wisconsin’s House members with more than $4 million in the bank, and he spent $214,438. Lorenzo Santos, the 1st CD Democratic candidate from Racine, reported $12,096 raised, $9,557 spent, and $5,199 cash on hand.

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville)

$638,823 raised

$214,438 spent

$4.03 million cash on hand

Lorenzo Santos (D-Racine)

$12,096 raised

$9,557 spent

$5,199 cash on hand

3rd CD Race

3rd CD candidates report fundraising totals

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Prairie du Chien), Rebecca Cooke (D-Eau Claire), and state Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) filed their finances to the FEC for the first quarter of 2024. Ms. Cooke out-fundraised Rep. Shankland by more than $188,000. She also had more than double the cash on hand of Rep. Shankland. Cong. Van Orden raised just over $700k in the quarter, the most among Wisconsin’s House delegation.

U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Prairie du Chien)

$705,319 raised

$375,820 spent

$1.9 million cash on hand

Rebecca Cooke (D-Eau Claire)

$491,635 raised

$180,566 spent

$807,661 cash on hand

State Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point)

$303,181 raised

$89,128 spent

$357,175 cash on hand

Eric Wilson (D-Eau Claire)

$16,810 raised

$19,079 spent

$17,059 cash on hand

8th CD Race

Roth and Jacque file fundraising reports

Former state Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton) and state Senator Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) filed their first quarter finance reports. Tony Wied and Kristin Lyerly (D) launched their campaigns after the reporting period closed for the first quarter filing. However, Tony Wied announced he has $700,000 cash on hand.

Sen. Jacque’s report shows that he has more financial support from GOP lawmakers than his former Senate colleague Roth. Rep. Elijah Behnke (R-Oconto), Rep. Jerry O’Connor (R-Fond du Lac), Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls), Sen. Julian Bradley (R-Franklin), Sen. Rachael Cabral-Guevara (R-Appleton), Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point), Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City), Rep. Ty Bodden (R-Hilbert), Rep. Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego), and Rep. Ron Tusler (R-Harrison) all contributed to his campaign. Sen. Jacque gave his campaign $16,000 and spent $2,390, ending the period with $140,654 cash on hand.

Roth received twenty-five maximum amount donations ($3,300 for Primary and $3,300 for General Election). Included in that group of donors was former Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels and his wife Barbara. Other notable GOP donors were Rick Graber (former GOP state chair), former DOA Secretary Scott Neitzel and Deputy Secretary Cate Zeuske, former Speaker Scott Jensen, and former Supreme Court Justice and Speaker David Prosser.

Roger Roth (R-Appleton)

$381,909 raised

$4,970 spent

$376,939 cash on hand

State Senator Andre Jacque (R-De Pere)

$143,044 raised

$2,390 spent

$140,654 cash on hand

Administration Updates

Evers appoints David Casey to serve as DOR Secretary

Governor Tony Evers appointed David Casey to serve as the secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR), effective April 29, 2024. He previously was the deputy secretary of the DOR from 2019 to 2022 and now fills the vacancy left by former Secretary Peter Barca. Mr. Casey has almost 30 years of experience in state tax agencies and currently serves as a principal industry expert in tax compliance and fraud for SAS. He graduated from Grinnell College with a bachelor’s degree in economics and from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master of Public Administration in public policy and management.

“We are excited David is returning to state service as secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue,” said Gov. Evers. “I look forward to David bringing his decades of experience in the industry, previous history working alongside our dedicated state workers, and his knowledge of our state tax laws and codes back to the department to serve the people of Wisconsin.”

Mark Meyer appointed administrator of the new alcohol division at DOR

The Department of Revenue appointed former Democratic lawmaker Mark Meyer as the administrator of the new Division of Alcohol Beverages. The division was created when Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed 2023 Wisconsin Act 73 and will oversee the enforcement of Wisconsin’s alcohol laws. The administrator can appoint special agents and other employees to carry out the division’s permitting, audit, legal and enforcement functions.

“This Division of Alcohol Beverages was created last session by bipartisan omnibus legislation. I am excited about the prospect of working with stakeholders and staff to implement this legislation within the Department of Revenue and make this a win for the people of Wisconsin,” said Mark Meyer.

Michael Best Strategies (Strategies) helps companies accelerate their success through a combination of strategic business consulting, lobbying, government relations, public affairs, and communications. The firm has thrived by providing a diverse team of professionals with the experience, skills, and relationships necessary to help each client achieve their goals more quickly and fully.