Wisconsin tops nation as state with one of the most expensive gubernatorial, senate races
Campaign spending is putting the 2022 Wisconsin Midterm Elections on the map
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin’s high-profile midterm races are garnering national attention and big bucks.
From the gubernatorial race to the contest for the U.S. Senate, tens of millions of dollars are pouring into the Badger State in the form of political advertising and individual contributions to the candidates.
Campaign finance reports filed with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission detail just how much the candidates’ supporters have donated and how much the campaigns have spent through August 31st.
We’ll break them down for you down below, but first, you can take this quick quiz and see if you can guess how much was spent between the beginning of the year and the end of August.
The Race for Governor
The price to become Wisconsin’s next governor and sit inside the office at the State Capitol comes at a high cost.
According to Ad Impact Politics, spending in the Badger State’s gubernatorial race topped $8 million during the week of October 9.
In the gubernatorial race, campaign finance reports filed with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission detail supporter donations and how much the campaigns have spent through August 31.
Michels’ Individual Contributions to Campaign
Bill McCoshen, NBC15′s Unspun Republican Analyst and Partner for Michael Best Strategies, says there’s a strong history of record spending in Wisconsin’s gubernatorial races.
“Our statewide races tend to be highly competitive,” said McCoshen. “Both parties, nationally and locally, see an opportunity to win every time here statewide so they both put their best foot forward and that includes a lot of spending.”
Since announcing his run for governor in late April, Michels has primarily self-funded his own campaign.
According to the Michels for Governor campaign finance reports, the GOP candidate has directed $15.7 million of his own money into his campaign, which is roughly how much the campaign has spent through the end of August.
|Filing Period Date||Total Receipts||Total Disbursements|
|01/01/2022 - 06/30/2022||$7,976,022||$7,654,260|
|07/01/2022 – 07/25/2022||$2,792,551||$2,961,151|
|07/26/2022 – 08/31/2022||$5,431,025||$4,403,628|
Steady spending in Evers’ Re-election Bid
Governor Evers has steadily spent money throughout the year in his run for re-election. Between January 1st and August 31st, the Tony for Wisconsin campaign reported spending just over $20 million.
As the incumbent did not have to fund a primary campaign, Evers’ spending during the month of July was far less than Michels, but increased by around $4 million once the GOP candidate was selected.
Mike Browne, the Deputy Director for A Better Wisconsin Together and NBC15′s Unspun Democratic Analyst, says the spending is parallel to what’s at stake.
“The Governor has a lot of power in the state of Wisconsin,” said Browne. “It’s a very important office and with Wisconsin being a swing state, we see hotly contested races and the gubernatorial race is no different.”
|Filing Period Date||Total Receipts||Total Disbursements|
|01/01/2022 - 06/30/2022||$10,129,840||$12,949,790|
|07/01/2022 – 07/25/2022||$1,030,824||$1,155,891|
|07/26/2022 – 08/31/2022||$4,566,074||$5,960,049|
The next deadline for candidates to file will be on October 31. This report will detail campaign fundraising totals and spending for September 1 through October 24. This will be the last report filed before Election Day.
Race for Wisconsin Senate
All across the country, eyes are on the outcome of the US Senate Race between incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson and Democratic challenger and current Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.
According to the latest campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Johnson’s campaign has spent nearly $25 million through the end of September. By comparison, Barnes has spent a little over $23 million.
Though those figures are high, political analysts say it’s the outside spending that’s setting records across the country. As of Monday, independent expenditures from outside groups and organizations, were around $100 million.
Political scientist and UW-Madison Journalism Professor Mike Wagner says an astronomical amount of money is being spent on Wisconsin voters.
He says roughly 2/3rds of campaign advertisements we see are being paid for by people outside of the state.
“There are a lot of people who are trying to get our attention and trying to get our voting behavior,” said Wagner. “Most of them are not from Wisconsin.”
Democratic analyst Mike Browne and Republican Analyst Bill McCoshen say voters are seeing the money at work in forms of television, radio, and digital advertising.
“It’s an extraordinary amount of spending in Wisconsin. It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” said McCoshen, who expects Wisconsinites will be subject to nearly $300 million in ads during this election cycle.
Browne adds that it’s important for voters to understand who is contributing to these candidates.
“There are a number of ways for campaigns to try and talk to voters to get their message out and all of those ways cost money,” Browne said.
“Wisconsin voters are more valuable than voters in most states in this particular election cycle, given how close the Senate race is,” said Wagner.
Gray Television White House Correspondent Jon Decker says the results of this race could shift the make-up of Congress allowing either party to have a say on major policies.
“They’re very much concerned about their various issues, but they’re also concerned who controls Congress, who controls the House, who controls the Senate,” said Decker.
Some other senate toss-ups to watch include Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada.
“This is one of those races, one of a handful of races around the nation, that could decide that balance,” said Browne.
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