Assembly challengers bring in more money than incumbents
Fourteen major-party challengers vying for a spot in the Wisconsin State Assembly outraised their incumbent opponents over the first six months of the year, a WisPolitics.com check of campaign finance reports found.
But only three of those races are considered among the top ones to watch in the Assembly for the November ballot, and one includes a challenger to the incumbent in the upcoming Aug. 14 primary.
Attorney Marisabel Cabrera outraised fellow Democrat Josh Zepnick in the 9th Assembly District, pulling in $15,647 to Zepnick’s $10,227 over the first six months of 2018. She spent $1,609 over the period, ended June with $14,063 in the bank and also logged $4,925 in loans.
Zepnick, who was accused late last year of kissing two women at political events without their consent, spent $4,984 between Jan. 1 and June 30 and had $7,676 cash on hand.
In the three top fall races:
— The 51st Assembly District in southwestern Wisconsin and the 92nd in the western part of the state are considered top Democratic targets this fall.
In the 51st, Town of Bear Creek Democrat Jeff Wright pulled in more than three times that of Rep. Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville. Novak raised $16,685 compared to Wright’s $53,972. Novak spent $2,644 and had $43,463 cash on hand. Wright spent $18,325 and finished the period with $38,354 in the bank.
Wright, the assistant superintendent of the Sauk Prairie School District, lost to Novak in 2016 by nearly 3 percentage points.
— In the 92nd, one of the three Democrats looking to unseat Rep. Treig Pronschinske outraised the Mondovi Republican over the first half of the year.
Rob Grover, a former corrections officer with the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Department, raised $37,500, spent $17,110 and had $20,499 in the bank. The figures were bolstered by $30,000 in personal loans. Pronschinske, meanwhile, raised $9,945, spent $11,868 and had $23,017 cash on hand to end the period.
— The 85th Assembly District has been trending more Republican in the last few cycles, though liberal Milwaukee Judge Rebecca Dallet won the seat in the April Supreme Court race.
In that district, Democrat Alyson Leahy raised $16,336 to Rep. Pat Snyder’s $11,198 to close out June. Leahy, a member of the Marathon County Board, also spent $4,989 and ended with $11,347 cash on hand. Snyder, R-Schofield, spent $397 and had $36,445 in the bank to end the period.
In the rest of the seats where the challengers had better fundraising numbers, the GOP incumbents are in seats that have a Republican lean at the very least.
3rd Assembly District
Little Chute Democrat Scott Gavin edged out Rep. Ron Tusler in fundraising to end June: $4,695 to the Harrison Republican’s $3,814.
Gavin, the only candidate running against Tusler, spent $2,994 and had $4,458 in the bank, while Tusler spent $3,614 and ended the period with $13,017 cash on hand. Tusler also logged $9,883 in loans.
13th Assembly District
Former Wauwatosa Ald. Dennis McBride pulled nearly $9,000 more than Rep. Rob Hutton over the period.
McBride, a Democrat and the only major party candidate going against Hutton, R-Brookfield, raised $24,156, spent $4,640 and had $19,516 cash on hand. He also had $337 in loans. Hutton raised $15,379, spent nothing and had $30,165 in the bank.
23rd Assembly District
Two Democrats hoping to take on Rep. Jim Ott this fall both outraised the Mequon Republican.
Liz Sumner, a member of the Fox Point Village Board who runs Shorewood-based women’s clothing and accessory boutique SHOP, raised the most of the candidates looking to represent the district. She pulled in $23,668 over the period, spent $6,662 and ended with $17,006 in the bank.
Democratic opponent Andy Lamb, a CPA and former Ozaukee County Board supervisor, raised $15,040, spent $10,419 and ended the period with $14,472 cash on hand. His fundraising effort included a $7,000 personal loan carried over from December.
Ott raised $11,200 in the first half of the year, spending $11,613 and banking $11,106. His report also listed a $6,020 loan balance.
Democrat William Demet, of Whitefish Bay, also is listed as a candidate for the seat, though he reported no fundraising activity to end the first half of the year. He said in an email he’s still seeking the office.
26th Assembly District
Democrat Rebecca Clarke, of Sheboygan, outraised Rep. Terry Katsma over the first six months of the year, logging $12,606 in receipts compared with Katsma’s $10,989.
Clarke also spent $3,149 and ended the period with $9,581 in the bank. Katsma, R-Oostburg, spent $10,577 and had $39,631 cash on hand. He also noted $5,000 in loans.
Clarke previously ran for the seat in 2016, when she won a two-way Democratic primary but went on to lose to Katsma by nearly 20 percentage points.
31st Assembly District
Rep. Amy Loudenbeck pulled in some $3,000 less than her Democratic challenger Brittany Keyes during the first half of 2018.
Keyes, a Beloit physical therapist, raised $21,774, spent $5,572 and ended the period with $16,203 in the bank. Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, raised $18,390, spent $12,531 and had $55,270 in the bank, as well as a $1,462 loan.
53rd Assembly District
Rep. Mike Schraa didn’t raise anything over the first half of the year, while Democratic opponent Joe Lavrenz, of Fond du Lac, logged $2,150 in receipts.
Schraa, R-Oshkosh, also didn’t spend anything over the period, though he had $10,819 in the bank and $2,986 in loans. Lavrenz spent $19 and had $2,131 cash on hand.
60th Assembly District
Cedarburg Democrat Chris Rahlf outraised Rep. Rob Brooks and has more money in the bank than the Saukville Republican to close the first half of the year.
Rahlf raised $19,192, spent $8,576 and had $23,210 cash on hand, as well as $5,000 in loans. Brooks, meanwhile, pulled in $13,175, spent $17,554 and had $13,670 in the bank. He also has $35,673 in loans.
61st Assembly District
Bristol Democrat Gina Walkington pulled in more money than Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Salem, to end June.
Walkington, one of the founding members of activist group Forward Wisconsin, raised $9,653, spent $4,479, and had $5,174 in the bank and $55 in loans. Meanwhile, Kerkman raised $5,155, spent $3,026 and had $14,108 cash on hand.
84th Assembly District
Greenfield Democrat Erica Flynn outraised Rep. Mike Kuglitsch nearly 6-to-1 over the first six months of the year.
Flynn logged $17,661 in receipts, $6,212 in expenses and $12,405 in the bank, while Kuglitsch, R-New Berlin, raised $3,000, spent $13,444 and had $18,224 cash on hand.