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Stories about Wisconsin

Incumbent Josh Kaul (D) and Eric Toney (R) running for Wisconsin attorney general

Incumbent Josh Kaul (D) and Eric Toney (R) are running for Wisconsin attorney general on Nov. 8, 2022.

Kaul was elected in 2018, defeating incumbent Brad Schimel (R) 49.4% to 48.8%. Before Kaul took office, a Republican had held the office since 2007.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball senior columnist Louis Jacobson named this election as one of the five most competitive attorney general elections in 2022, writing, “When Kaul won the office in 2018, his vote margin was narrow and tracked the showing of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tony Evers. Evers is facing a tough reelection in 2022, and so is Kaul. … [U]ltimately, [Kaul’s] fate will probably mirror whatever happens to Evers in November, and possibly the result of the U.S. Senate race between GOP incumbent Ron Johnson and Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.”

Kaul’s campaign website says, “As Attorney General, Josh’s top priority is public safety. … [H]is administration has investigated and/or prosecuted some of the most serious offenses in the state, including homicides, sexual assaults, robberies, internet crimes against children, and drug trafficking.” The website says, “[Kaul’s] administration has fought crime, protected our natural resources, and defended our rights, taking on tough issues and getting results.” Kaul’s career before he was elected attorney general included working as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and as a voting rights attorney. Kaul’s mother, Peggy Lautenschlager (D), served as attorney general from 2003 to 2007.

Toney was elected district attorney in Fond du Lac County in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016 and 2020. Toney’s campaign website says he is running for attorney general to “restore the Department of Justice’s mission to fight crime, support law enforcement, protect families, and enforce the rule of law,” saying that Kaul had “failed to support law enforcement, politicized the Department of Justice, failed to defend our election laws, has rejected the title of Wisconsin’s ‘Top Cop’ and has begun to systematically defund the Department of Justice’s ability to prosecute cases[.]”

The attorney general is the head of the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the chief legal officer for the state. During their campaigns, Kaul and Toney have addressed issues such as public safety, Department of Justice and law enforcement funding, crime in Milwaukee, the state’s 1849 abortion law, drug trafficking, election access and security, and firearm regulations.

In 2018, Democrats gained a state government triplex in Wisconsin when Democratic candidates defeated Republican incumbents in the elections for governor and attorney general, and the Democratic secretary of state was re-elected. All three offices are up for election again in 2022.

Across the U.S., 23 states have Republican triplexes, 18 have Democratic triplexes, and 9 have divided governments where neither party holds triplex control.

This election is one of 30 attorney general elections taking place in 2022. All 50 states have an attorney general who serves as the state’s chief legal officer. In 43 states, the office is an elected post. There are currently 27 Republican attorneys general and 23 Democratic attorneys general.



Campaign finance deadline today in Wisconsin

Candidates and organizations involved in Wisconsin’s statewide elections must file campaign finance information by September 27, 2022. The general election will take place in Wisconsin on November 8, 2022.

What state-level offices are on the ballot this year in Wisconsin?

Want to review the campaign finance data in Wisconsin so far? Click here to explore the data on Transparency USA.

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here. 



These 10 Wisconsin donors gave over $17.7 million

In Wisconsin politics, state-level candidates and political action committees have received $118.0 million in total donations between Jan. 1, 2021, and July 25, 2022. The 10 largest donors gave more than $17.7 million, or 15 percent of all contributions.

These are the top 10 individual donors to Wisconsin state-level candidates and political action committees (PACs) in the 2022 election cycle, according to campaign finance reports submitted to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission:

Top 10 Wisconsin Donors (1/1/2021 – 7/25/2022)

Rank Donor Name Total Donations
1 Richard Uihlein $4,585,000
2 Karla T Jurvetson $3,555,020
3 Elizabeth Uihlein $2,712,500
4 Sage Weil $1,547,350
5 George Soros $1,500,000
6 Elise Lawson $1,000,600
7 Reid Hoffman $1,000,000
8 Diane M Hendricks $673,500
9 Edward W Snowdon $615,000
10 JB Pritzker $520,000

The list of Wisconsin donors in this time period includes more than 965 individuals identified by name in the Wisconsin Ethics Commission’s public records.

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Wisconsin PACs submitted to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. Federal PACs are not required to report to state agencies.

Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports. Data from additional reports due in between the deadlines below are published along with the reports listed here.

Report Name Report Due Date
2022 Jan Semiannual 1/18/2022
2022 Spring Pre-Primary 2/7/2022
2022 Spring Pre-Election 3/28/2022
2022 Jul Semiannual 7/15/2022
2022 Fall Pre-Primary 8/1/2022
2022 Sept Data 9/27/2022
2022 Fall Pre-General 10/31/2022
2023 Jan Semiannual 1/7/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.



Robin Vos spent more than any other Republican Assembly candidate or officeholder in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Republican Assembly candidates and officeholders have spent $2.1 million during the 2022 election cycle. Among state representatives and candidates, Robin Vos has spent more than any other Republican.

Vos is the representative for Wisconsin Assembly District 63 and is running for re-election in 2022. Vos raised $254,447 and spent $131,191 between Jan. 1, 2021, and July 25, 2022. According to Wisconsin Ethics Commission reports, Vos spent the most money with the following individual payees and PACs.

Robin Vos’s Top 10 Payees, (1/1/2021 – 7/25/2022)

Of the $131,191 in reported expenditures, $115,917 went to these 10 payees:

Total Expenditures Name Type
$59,667 Republican Party of Wisconsin ENTITY
$20,000 Victory Enterprises Inc ENTITY
$6,960 Stoneridge Group ENTITY
$6,591 Premier Solutions Group ENTITY
$6,516 Heinzen Printing & Promotional ENTITY
$3,741 Robin Voss Campaign ENTITY
$3,586 Republican Assembly Campaign Committee ENTITY
$3,016 Capital One ENTITY
$3,000 Bruesewitz Dale ENTITY
$2,840 Rude Abbey ENTITY

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Wisconsin PACs submitted to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. Political expenditures that are not controlled by candidates or their campaigns, known as satellite spending, are not included in candidate totals. Federal PACs are not required to report to state agencies. Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports.

See updates to Robin Vos’s campaign finance data after the next reports are available.

Report Name Report Due Date
2022 Jan Semiannual 1/18/2022
2022 Spring Pre-Primary 2/7/2022
2022 Spring Pre-Election 3/28/2022
2022 Jul Semiannual 7/15/2022
2022 Fall Pre-Primary 8/1/2022
2022 Sept Data 9/27/2022
2022 Fall Pre-General 10/31/2022
2023 Jan Semiannual 1/7/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.



Steve Doyle spent more than any other Democratic Assembly candidate or officeholder in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Democratic Assembly candidates and officeholders have spent $1.4 million during the 2022 election cycle. Among state representatives and candidates, Steve Doyle has spent more than any other Democrat.

Doyle is the representative for Wisconsin Assembly District 94 and is running for re-election in 2022. Doyle raised $662,798 and spent $130,155 between Jan. 1, 2021, and July 25, 2022. According to Wisconsin Ethics Commission reports, Doyle spent the most money with the following individual payees and PACs.

Steve Doyle’s Top 10 Payees, (1/1/2021 – 7/25/2022)

Of the $130,155 in reported expenditures, $112,300 went to these 10 payees:

Total Expenditures Name Type
$46,476 Wisconsin Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee ENTITY
$13,321 Midwest Family Radio Inc ENTITY
$8,000 Hyant Consulting LLC ENTITY
$8,000 Macken James ENTITY
$7,966 Wizm ENTITY
$6,661 Facebook Inc / Meta ENTITY
$6,646 Winning Connections Inc ENTITY
$6,016 Cbs Graphics ENTITY
$5,413 United States Postal Service ENTITY
$3,801 De Lage Landen ENTITY

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Wisconsin PACs submitted to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. Political expenditures that are not controlled by candidates or their campaigns, known as satellite spending, are not included in candidate totals. Federal PACs are not required to report to state agencies. Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports.

See updates to Steve Doyle’s campaign finance data after the next reports are available.

Report Name Report Due Date
2022 Jan Semiannual 1/18/2022
2022 Spring Pre-Primary 2/7/2022
2022 Spring Pre-Election 3/28/2022
2022 Jul Semiannual 7/15/2022
2022 Fall Pre-Primary 8/1/2022
2022 Sept Data 9/27/2022
2022 Fall Pre-General 10/31/2022
2023 Jan Semiannual 1/7/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.



Wisconsin announces participation in Integrity Data Hub

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced August 8, 2022, that the state was participating in the Integrity Data Hub (IDH). The IDH is a platform of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) that “brings state workforce agencies together in collective action to compare and analyze [unemployment insurance] claims data for enhanced detection and prevention of fraud and improper payments,” according to the NASWA website.

The state said the partnership would allow expanded cross-checks for unemployment insurance claims against lists of suspicious claims from other states, lists of suspicious email domains, lists of foreign IP addresses, and other data sets that could help the state identify potentially fraudulent claims.

The DWD also said Wisconsin would have access to IDH’s centralized identity verification service, Fraud Alert System, and bank account verification system.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

Additional reading:



$3.3 million raised in the race for Wisconsin attorney general

The general election for the attorney general of Wisconsin will take place on November 8, 2022. In total, candidates running for Wisconsin attorney general have raised $3,383,024 and spent $1,409,426 between Jan. 1, 2021, and July 25, 2022. Primary elections took place on August 9, 2022.

Here’s the breakdown for the two candidates who are still in the running:

Active Attorney General Candidates’ Campaign Finance, 1/1/2021-7/25/2022

CandidatePartyContributionsExpendituresElection Stage
Josh Kaul (Incumbent)Democratic$2,507,512.39$686,078.55General
Eric ToneyRepublican$197,108.45$161,065.14General

The remaining $449,153 raised in the race for Wisconsin attorney general went to three candidates who did not advance to the general election or who withdrew from the race.

Total fundraising in eight attorney general races in the 2022 election cycle

A number of factors, including whether an incumbent officeholder is running for re-election and number of candidates in a race, can influence donor activity. Here is how total fundraising by all candidates for Wisconsin attorney general compares to the seven other attorney general races with campaign finance data available from Transparency USA for the 2022 election cycle:

RankStateTotal DonationsTotal CandidatesActive CandidatesAvailable Reporting Period
1Texas$30,761,1141131/1/2021 – 6/30/2022
2California$15,136,669.34521/1/2021 – 6/30/2022
3Arizona$9,199,0571331/1/2021 – 6/30/2022
4Florida$7,141,500421/1/2021 – 6/30/2022
5Michigan$5,276,457.07641/1/2021 – 8/22/2022
6Wisconsin$3,763,143621/1/2021 – 7/25/2022
7Minnesota$2,907,519821/1/2021 – 7/18/2022
8Ohio$2,867,606221/1/2021 – 6/30/2022

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Wisconsin candidate PACs submitted to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports.

Name of ReportReporting PeriodDeadline
2022 Jan Semiannual7/1/21 – 12/31/211/18/2022
Spring Pre-Primary1/1/22 – 1/31/222/7/2022
Spring Pre-Election2/1/22 – 3/21/223/28/2022
July Semiannual3/22/22 – 6/30/227/15/2022
Fall Pre-Primary7/1/22 – 7/25/228/1/2022
Sept Data7/26/22 – 8/31/229/27/2022
Fall Pre-General9/1/22 – 10/24/2210/31/2022
2023 Jan Semiannual7/1/22 – 12/31/221/17/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.



Evers, Michels tied in polls for governor of Wisconsin

Incumbent Tony Evers (D) and Tim Michels (R) are running in the general election for governor of Wisconsin on Nov. 8, 2022.

Recent polls have not shown either candidate to have a statistically significant lead. The Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections rate the election as a toss-up.

Evers was elected in 2018, defeating then-incumbent Gov. Scott Walker (R) by a margin of 1.1 percentage points. Evers’ campaign website says he has “worked to bring people together around common sense solutions that make Wisconsin stronger” and names “signing a bipartisan income tax cut, fixing thousands of miles of roads and bridges, investing in apprenticeships and job training programs, and increasing resources for our public schools” among his accomplishments. “While Republicans want to divide us, I’m focused on delivering results that matter,” Evers said.

Before being elected governor, Evers served as Wisconsin superintendent of public instruction for 10 years and as deputy superintendent for eight years before that.

Michels is co-owner and vice president of an energy and infrastructure construction company. He previously served in the U.S. Army for 12 years. Michels describes himself as “a businessman, not a politician.” After winning the Republican nomination, Michels said, “[T]his race has always been about … standing up for the hard-working people of Wisconsin. They’ve been left behind by the Democratic Party that just wants to focus on the social issues. From my first day in office to my very last day as governor, jobs and the economy are going to be my number one priority.”

Michels won the August 9 Republican primary with 47% of the vote to former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch’s 42%. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Michels in June 2022. In 2004, Michels was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin and lost to then-incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold (D) 55% to 44%.

Joan Ellis Beglinger (Independent) withdrew from the gubernatorial election on Sept. 4, 2022, and endorsed Michels.

The Associated Press‘ Sara Burnett and Scott Bauer wrote of the election, “The person elected governor this fall will be in office for the presidential election and will be able to sign or veto changes to election laws passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. The next governor … also may sway decisions on issues from abortion to education and taxes.” Burnett and Bauer described Wisconsin as “a state that is almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats and where 2022 will be seen as a bellwether for the 2024 presidential race. … Biden won the state by nearly 21,000 votes, four years after Trump narrowly won the state by roughly the same margin.”

Heading into the 2022 election, Republicans have majorities in the Wisconsin State Senate and the Wisconsin State Assembly. When Evers was elected in 2018, Republicans had held trifecta control of Wisconsin state government for eight years. Before that, Democrats had a trifecta for two years.

Wisconsin is one of seven states where the lieutenant governor is nominated in a separate primary but runs on a single ticket with the gubernatorial nominee in the general election.



Tim Michels spent more than any other Republican statewide candidate or officeholder in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Republican statewide candidates and officeholders have spent $20.7 million during the 2022 election cycle. Among statewide officials and candidates, Tim Michels has spent more than any other Republican.

Michels is running for Governor of Wisconsin in 2022. Michels raised $12.0 million and spent $10.6 million between Jan. 1, 2021, and July 25, 2022. According to Wisconsin Ethics Commission reports, Michels spent the most money with the following individual payees and PACs.

Tim Michels’s Top 10 Payees, (1/1/2021 – 7/25/2022)

Of the $10.6 million in reported expenditures, $10.2 million went to these 10 payees:

Total Expenditures Name Type
$8,333,487 Ad Victory LLC ENTITY
$1,072,811 Imge LLC ENTITY
$237,653 Red Maverick Media LLC ENTITY
$163,056 Something Else Strategies LLC ENTITY
$122,000 Public Opinion Strategies LLC ENTITY
$97,659 Ls Consulting LLC ENTITY
$76,835 Michels Corporation ENTITY
$62,177 Leverage Public Strategies ENTITY
$38,196 Cls Services Inc ENTITY
$28,096 Adp Inc ENTITY

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Wisconsin PACs submitted to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. Political expenditures that are not controlled by candidates or their campaigns, known as satellite spending, are not included in candidate totals. Federal PACs are not required to report to state agencies. Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports.

See updates to Tim Michels’s campaign finance data after the next reports are available.

Report Name Report Due Date
2022 Jan Semiannual 1/18/2022
2022 Spring Pre-Primary 2/7/2022
2022 Spring Pre-Election 3/28/2022
2022 Jul Semiannual 7/15/2022
2022 Fall Pre-Primary 8/1/2022
2022 Sept Data 9/27/2022
2022 Fall Pre-General 10/31/2022
2023 Jan Semiannual 1/7/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.



Tony Evers spent more than any other Democratic statewide candidate or officeholder in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Democratic statewide candidates and officeholders have spent $19.1 million during the 2022 election cycle. Among statewide officials and candidates, Tony Evers has spent more than any other Democrat.

Evers is the Governor of Wisconsin and is running for re-election in 2022. Evers raised $21.7 million and spent $17.4 million between Jan. 1, 2021, and July 25, 2022. According to Wisconsin Ethics Commission reports, Evers spent the most money with the following individual payees and PACs.

Tony Evers’s Top 10 Payees, (1/1/2021 – 7/25/2022)

Of the $17.4 million in reported expenditures, $14.5 million went to these 10 payees:

Total Expenditures Name Type
$9,882,860 Strother Nuckels Strategies ENTITY
$1,074,847 Cleansweep Campaigns ENTITY
$855,057 Democratic Party of Wisconsin ENTITY
$654,746 Adp Inc ENTITY
$573,494 New Blue Interactive LLC ENTITY
$398,230 Gbao ENTITY
$353,212 Path to Victory LLC ENTITY
$312,045 Actblue Wisconsin* ENTITY
$212,457 New Terri ENTITY
$173,873 Budget Signs and Specialties ENTITY

*A PAC is a group that spends money on elections. Conduit PACs, such as ActBlue, are a subset of non-candidate PACs through which individuals can donate to candidate PACs.

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Wisconsin PACs submitted to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. Political expenditures that are not controlled by candidates or their campaigns, known as satellite spending, are not included in candidate totals. Federal PACs are not required to report to state agencies. Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports.

See updates to Tony Evers’s campaign finance data after the next reports are available.

Report Name Report Due Date
2022 Jan Semiannual 1/18/2022
2022 Spring Pre-Primary 2/7/2022
2022 Spring Pre-Election 3/28/2022
2022 Jul Semiannual 7/15/2022
2022 Fall Pre-Primary 8/1/2022
2022 Sept Data 9/27/2022
2022 Fall Pre-General 10/31/2022
2023 Jan Semiannual 1/7/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.