Wisconsin State Capitol

Wisconsin’s primary doesn’t happen until August of next year. But the major Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate are busy gathering resources for the primary and general election fight ahead.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes raised more than $1.1 million during the third quarter as he pulled more from donors than either U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, or his top Democratic rivals, according to a WisPolitics.com review of their fundraising reports.

Barnes reported spending $419,033 during the three-month period and finished September with $711,089. It was his first fundraising report after getting into the race this summer.

Johnson, who hasn’t said whether he will seek re-election, reported $906,290 in receipts and $2.3 million cash on hand after spending $316,936 during the period.

His fundraising dipped from the $1.2 million he raised in the second quarter. Johnson also continued to lag behind other top Senate targets in the 2022 cycle.

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., reported $9.5 million raised during the three-month period, while U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., raised nearly $8.2 million. Among the incumbents who typically show up on the national lists of top targets, Johnson’s fundraising was closest to U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan. The New Hampshire Democrat raised nearly $3 million.

Among Wisconsin Democrats, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Alex Lasry — on leave from his position with the Milwaukee Bucks — both topped $1 million in receipts. But that was largely due to personal money they put into their campaigns.

Godlewski reported nearly $1.4 million in receipts. That included $315,000 that she gave directly to the campaign and another $685,000 that she loaned to the operation two days before the reporting period closed. She spent $818,070 and had $786,494 in the bank.

Lasry, meanwhile, reported more than $1 million in receipts, though that included a $750,000 loan he gave his campaign Sept. 28, two days before the reporting period closed. He has now loaned his campaign $800,000, and Lasry listed $1.5 million cash on hand after spending $574,443 during the three-month period.

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, meanwhile, reported $222,920 raised, $211,348 spent and $417,928 in the bank.

Among other Democrats in the race, Steven Olikara raised $102,449, spent $93,850 and had $64,328 in the bank. Olikara, founder of the Millennial Action Project, announced in May that he was exploring a bid and then formally entered the race in mid-August.

Gillian Battino, a Wausau doctor, raised $88,926, spent $88,394 and had $34,695 in the bank.

Barnes showed a stronger small-dollar fundraising operation than his top rivals in the Senate race. Of the more than $1.1 million he raised, Barnes reported $403,762 in unitemized donations of $200 or less during the three-month period.

Johnson reported $376,832 in unitemized donations, while Godlewski reported $95,034 and Lasry $66,573.

For more, visit WisPolitics.com

The Capitol Report is written by editorial staff at WisPolitics.com, a nonpartisan, Madison-based news service that specializes in coverage of government and politics, and is distributed for publication by members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

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