In this update:

  • Election Updates
  • Administration Updates
  • Legislative Updates

Election Updates

State Assembly and Senate

Non-incumbent election announcements

State Assembly

  • 12th AD: Rev. Dr. Russell Antonio Goodwin, Sr. (D-Milwaukee) announced he is running for the 12th AD. Rep. LaKeshia Meyers (D-Milwaukee) has represented the 12th since 2018 but is running for the 4th state Senate district in the fall, leaving the 12th AD open. The new 12th AD has a 78.8% Democratic lean.
  • 12th AD: Deanna Alexander (I-Milwaukee) announced her candidacy for the 12th AD. Rep. LaKeshia Meyers (D-Milwaukee) has represented the 12th since 2018 but is running for the 4th state Senate district in the fall, leaving the 12th AD open. The new 12th AD has a 78.8% Democratic lean.
  • 14th AD: Former West Allis Alderman Angelito Tenorio (D-West Allis) announced he is running for the open 14th AD. Brady Coulthard (D-Milwaukee) and Angelito Tenorio are the only candidates announced for the seat. The new 14th AD has a 55.3% Democratic lean.
  • 30th AD: Alison Page (D-River Falls) announce her bid for the 30th AD. Rep. Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls) has represented the district since 2016 and was redrawn into the district under the new maps. The new 30th AD has a 50.2% GOP lean.
  • 66th AD: Long-time Village President for Mount Pleasant David DeGroot (R-Mount Pleasant) announced his candidacy for the 66th AD. Assembly Minority Leader Greta Neubauer has represented the seat since 2018 and is running for reelection after being redrawn into the district. The new 66th AD has a 54.8% Democratic lean.
  • 74th AD: Scott Harbridge (R-Radisson) announced he is challenging Rep. Chanz Green (R-Grand View) for the 74th AD. Rep. Green has represented the district since 2022 and was redrawn into the district under the new maps. The new 74th AD has a 58.4% GOP lean.
  • 89th AD: Brown County Board Chairman Patrick Buckley (R-Green Bay) announced he is running for the open 89th AD. Ryan Spaude (D-Green Bay) and Patrick Buckley are the only announced candidates for the seat. The new 89th AD has a 50.6% Democratic seat.

* 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.

SSDC reserves $7M in TV ads

The State Senate Democratic Committee (SSDC) announced they reserved $7 million for TV ads for five races. SSDC Executive Director Andrew Whitley said they expect to make more buys in the future and expects the increase in fundraising will cover costs. The reservations include:

  • $550,000 to defend Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-Onalaska) in the 32nd SD
  • $2.1 million in the 8th SD to challenge Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville)
  • $1.3 million in the 14th SD to challenge Sen. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan)
  • $1.1 million in the open 18th SD
  • $1.9 million in the 30th SD

U.S. President

Biden visits Racine County

President Joe Biden visited Wisconsin this week to tout the new $3.3 billion Microsoft artificial intelligence datacenter in Racine County. The White House said the plan is projected to create 2,300 union construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs over time. It also includes partnerships with Gateway Technical College, TitletownTech, and the Green Bay Packers to establish a manufacturing-focused AI co-innovation lab at UW-Milwaukee. Pres. Biden said Wisconsin lost 83,500 jobs under former President Donald Trump and has gained 178,000 since he took office, calling it a “great American comeback story.” The visit was the 11th stop of his presidency and fourth this year. Pres. Biden lost Racine County in 2020 by 3.6 percentage points.

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) said the news was a win for the area, but Pres. Biden was taking credit for the private sector’s work that began over 10 years ago. “Microsoft’s announcement of private sector jobs in Racine is good for workers, and it’s all the more important when workers and families find themselves falling further and further behind due to the reckless inflation brought on to us by the Biden administration,” Rep. Steil said. However, Microsoft President Brad Smith said everything the company is doing in Racine County and Wisconsin is because of “the work of this White House and this president.” He named the bipartisan infrastructure law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS Act, for the movement of the project.

Quinnipiac releases new presidential polls

Quinnipiac University released new Wisconsin polls, finding President Joe Biden ahead of former President Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup. The poll shows 50% of registered voters in Wisconsin back Pres. Biden and 44% back Trump. When asked with third-party candidates, Pres. Biden was at 40%, Trump 39%, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. 12%, Jill Stein 4% and Cornel West 1%. The survey consisted of 1,457 registered voters and was conducted May 2-6 using random digit dialing with live interviewers calling landlines and cell phones. The margin of error was +/- 2.6 percentage points. FiveThirtyEight rates Quinnipiac 2.8 stars out of 3.

National Polling Average

View 538’s polling data.

View RealClearPolling’s data.

Biden launches new TV ad

The Biden campaign released a new TV ad in Wisconsin that says former President Donald Trump “is coming for your health care, and we’re not going to let it happen.” The ad is included in a new $14 million buy in the month of May on digital platforms and TV in battleground states.

U.S. Senate

Quinnipiac releases new senate poll

Quinnipiac University released new Wisconsin polls, finding U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) ahead of GOP U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde. The survey found 54% of Wisconsinites backed Sen. Baldwin, and 42% favored Eric Hovde. The poll also showed that 49% have a favorable opinion of Sen. Baldwin and 35% have an unfavorable opinion. For Hovde, 23% have a favorable opinion, 25% have an unfavorable opinion, and 50% have not heard enough to have an opinion. The survey consisted of 1,457 registered voters and was conducted May 2-6 using random digit dialing with live interviewers calling landlines and cell phones. The margin of error was +/- 2.6 percentage points. FiveThirtyEight rates YouGov 2.8 stars out of 3.

Baldwin announces fourth TV ad

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) announced the fourth TV ad of her reelection campaign. The ad highlights Sen. Baldwin’s work to combat fentanyl. The new ad will run statewide and is included in a previous buy. In the ad, a woman says Sen. Baldwin “doesn’t just talk the talk but she actually walks the walk.”

Watch the ad here.

Restoration PAC launches new ad

Restoration PAC launched a $3 million TV ad campaign, saying U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) is “Madison’s senator, not Wisconsin’s.” An earlier version of the ad was replaced with this one after attorneys for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee requested its removal. The ad will run in every media market, but no other details were provided. Restoration PAC also released a website to build off of the ad’s content.

Watch the ad and access the website here.

Americans for Prosperity launches new ad

Americans for Prosperity launched a new ad targeting U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D). The ad focuses on inflation, saying “we’ve had enough of Bidenomics.” The ad is part of a national buy with “six figures” being spent in Wisconsin. There are 30-second and 15-second versions of the ad that will run on digital and streaming services.

Watch the 30-second ad.

Watch the 15-second ad.

U.S. House of Representatives

1st CD Race

Opportunity Wisconsin targets Steil with mobile billboard

Opportunity Wisconsin launched a mobile billboard criticizing U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) on credit card fees. The billboard will stop in Racine, Kenosha and near the Milwaukee Brewers’ stadium ahead of the game. The billboard says, “Tell Rep. Steil don’t vote AGAIN for higher credit card late fees.”

3rd CD Race

Welcome PAC launches ads backing Cooke

Welcome PAC released digital ads this week supporting Democratic 3rd CD candidate Rebecca Cooke. According to a filing with the FEC, the group spent $10,000 on the ad buy. One version of the ad contrasts Ms. Cooke with incumbent 3rd CD Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Prairie du Chien). According to WisPoltics, Welcome PAC says it has spent $150,000 on the 3rd CD race since October.

Ms. Cooke is in a three-way Democratic primary race with state Rep. Katrina Shankland and Eau Claire resident Eric Wilson. In April, Welcome PAC endorsed Ms. Cooke for the Democratic nomination. The primary election date is August 13, 2024.

8th CD Race

Wied releases first digital ad

Tony Wied (R-De Pere) launched his first digital ad for the 8th CD race. The ad campaign is a four-figure digital buy and will run in-district. The ad highlights former President Donald Trump’s endorsement and says he’s an “America First outsider that will deliver for you.”

Administration Updates

Governor’s task force on AI presents draft action plan

The Governor’s Task Force on Workforce and Artificial Intelligence met on Monday to release its Draft Action Plan. The plan includes a number of policy proposals recommended by the task force in the areas of education, government, workforce development, and economic development. The task force will now collect feedback from interested parties concerning the findings and proposals in the plan. In July, the task force will present and approve the final action plan. A high-level summary of the plan’s proposals is below (verbatim from draft action plan).

Education

  • Investments in AI Research
  • Curricular Development and Pedagogical Enhancements for Improved Teaching and Learning
  • EAB Navigate – Advising Toward Student Success
  • Faculty Recruitment and Retention in AI Fields
  • Wisconsin Technical College System AI Initiatives

Government

  • Incentivizing the Implementation of AI Solutions and Infrastructure to Increase Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Workforce Opportunities
  • Broadband Expansion and Accessibility
  • Office of Data and Privacy
  • Interagency Technology Governance Work Group

Workforce

  • Enhanced Apprenticeship Infrastructure to Account for Technological Advancements, Including AI, in Trades and Industry
  • Worker Connection to Increase Access to Training for Workers Displaced or Otherwise Affected by AI in the Workplace
  • Wisconsin Fast Forward AI Expansion Funds for Employer-Led Worker Training; Workforce Retention; Community Tech Hub Training, and K-12 Technology and Training
  • Artificial Intelligence Layoff Aversion Program
  • AI Workforce Talent Pipeline
  • AI Digital Literacy Campaign
  • Enhanced Statewide Data Infrastructure to Answer AI and Workforce Related Questions

Economic Development

  • AI Supports for Wisconsin Businesses
  • AI Innovation Hubs
  • AI Roadmap for Wisconsin Businesses

Legislative Updates

JFC changes opioid plan

The Joint Finance Committee changed the Evers administration’s plan on how to use opioid settlement funds in the upcoming fiscal year. The amended $36 million plan backed by JFC Republicans sends more money to capital projects, medication assisted treatment, and law enforcement. The committee unanimously agreed to the GOP proposal, which redirects how $15.5 million of the funds would be spent. The changes included giving the Department of Public Instruction half a million dollars rather than one million. The money was intended to be distributed to schools for evidence-based substance abuse prevention programming. JFC Co-Chair Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam) said the plan allows for investments in other prevention efforts like $1 million more for community-based prevention grants.

Other changes included:

  • cutting $5 million the Department of Health Services wanted to put toward family resource centers
  • removing $5 million for programs to train peer support specialists
  • directing $7.7 million to capital projects such as constructing and renovating recovery housing. That is $4.7 million more than DHS proposed
  • sending $3 million to medication assisted treatment. DHS didn’t propose any funding for this
  • putting $3 million into law enforcement grants, $2 million more than the agency had proposed

DPW launches digital ad campaign critical of JFC

Wisconsin Democrats announced a new digital ad campaign called “No More Games,” targeting GOP Joint Finance Committee (JFC) members. The six-figure ad campaign is running across digital platforms. The ads cover the Republican members accused by Democrats of blocking funding for clean water, opioid treatment and rural health care.

Watch the ads for each member:

Sen. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan)

Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green)

Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville)

Sen. Eric Wimberger (R-Green Bay)

Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam)

Rep. Jessie Rodriguez (R-Oak Creek)

Rep. Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls)

Legislative Council Study Committees are approved

The Joint Legislative Council approved all five of the proposed Legislative Council Study Committees for 2024 and the Special Committee on State-Tribal Relations. Below are the committees as well as the chair and vice-chair of the committee.

Study Committee on Emergency Detention and Civil Commitment of Minors

  • Chair Sen. Jesse James (R-Altoona)
  • Vice-Chair Rep. Pat Snyder (R-Schofield)

Study Committee on Recodification of Battery Statutes

  • Chair Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine)
  • Vice-Chair Rep. Ron Tusler (R-Harrison)

Study Committee on Sandhill Cranes

  • Chair Rep. Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc)
  • Vice-Chair Sen. Romaine Quinn (R-Cameron)

Study Committee on the Future of the University of Wisconsin System

  • Chair Rep. Amanda Nedweski (R-Pleasant Prairie)
  • Vice-Chair Sen. Cory Tomczyk (R-Mosinee)

Study Committee on the Regulation of Artificial Intelligence in Wisconsin

  • Chair Sen. Julian Bradley (R-Franklin)
  • Vice-Chair Rep. David Armstrong (R-Rice Lake)

Special Committee on State-Tribal Relations

  • Chair Rep. Jeffrey Mursau (R-Crivitz)
  • Vice-Chair Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R-Tomahawk)
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