Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

Legislative Donors Give Record Amount in 2020

$7.1 million showered on legislative races in first half of 2020, shattering 2016 record of $5.1 million.

By - Aug 10th, 2020 10:30 am
Cash. (CC0 Creative Commons).

Cash. (CC0 Creative Commons).

As millions lost jobs and the economy tanked, wealthy special interests and their campaign contributors appeared to be immune from the coronavirus.

Legislative candidate and fundraising committees raised a record of more than $7.1 million in the first half of 2020 when the pandemic began slashing income and spending in March for many Wisconsin residents.

The previous January-June legislative fundraising record for a comparable, even-numbered election year was $5.1 million in 2016. As of June 30, legislative candidates and fundraising committees also had a record $11.3 million in their campaign accounts. The previous record for total cash-on-hand at the mid-point in a general election year was about $7.3 million, also set in 2016.

By party, legislative fundraising between Republicans and Democrats during the first six months was relatively close, but GOP candidates closed the reporting period with substantially more in the bank. Republican candidates and fundraising committees raised about $3.66 million and had about $7.55 million in their accounts. Democratic candidates and committees raised about $3.46 million and had about $3.76 million in their campaign accounts.

The top fundraisers were the four legislative campaign committees (LCC) used by Republican and Democratic Assembly and Senate legislative leaders to tap powerful special interests for campaign cash at election time. The four committees collectively raised a record $2.76 million and had a record $4.55 million in their campaign accounts at the end of June.  The figures mean they accounted for about 40 percent of the legislative fundraising and cash-on-hand. (See Table 1.)

Table 1: Legislative Campaign Committee Fundraising in the First Six Months of 2020

Committee Fundraising June 30 Cash
Republican Assembly Campaign Committee $1,321,207 $2,370,692
Committee to Elect a Republican Senate $483,673 $1,251,911
Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $478,147 $431,912
State Senate Democratic Committee $473,094 $497,385
Totals $2,756,121 $4,551,900


The top candidate committee fundraisers during the first six months of 2020 were all candidates in open seats or targeted races, including:

32nd Senate District GOP candidate Dan Kapanke, of La Crosse, $187,413

32nd Senate District Democratic candidate Brad Pfaff, of Onalaska, $155,193

94th Assembly District Democratic Rep. Steve Doyle, of Onalaska, $132,183

74th Assembly District Democratic Rep. Beth Meyers, of Bayfield, $117,323

24th Senate District Democratic candidate Paul Piotrowski, of Stevens Point, $110,471

Candidate committees with the top cash balances as of June 30 were:

GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, of Rochester, $355,118

24th Senate District Republican Sen. Patrick Testin, of Stevens Point, $261,843

8th Senate District GOP Sen. Alberta Darling, of River Hills, $181,394

94th Assembly District Democratic Rep. Steve Doyle, of Onalaska, $174,235

32nd Senate District GOP candidate Dan Kapanke, of La Crosse, $168,778

(See Table 2 below for a complete list of all candidates with their 2020 fundraising and June 30 cash balance.)

One factor for the record numbers in legislative fundraising in the first half of 2020 is the large pool of candidates. This year there are 271 registered legislative candidates, compared to 230 in 2016 when the previous fundraising records were set.

But the chief driver in sharp fundraising and spending by candidates in recent years was sweeping changes to campaign finance laws enacted in 2015 by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled legislature.

Those changes included doubling candidate contribution limits, allowing unlimited aggregate individual and political committee contributions in a calendar year or election, allowing unlimited individual contributions to the four legislative campaign committees, and allowing legislative campaign committees to accept contributions from corporations for the first time in more than 100 years.

Table 2: 2020 Fall Legislative Candidates Listed by Amount Raised January, 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020

Key:
Party: Dem=Democrat, Rep=Republican, Ind=Independent
Status: C=Challenger, I=Independent, O=Open Seat
District, S=Senate, A=Assembly

Candidate Party Status District Raised June 30 Cash
Kapanke, Dan Rep O S32 $187,413.29 $168,777.58
Pfaff, Brad Dem O S32 $155,193.27 $133,058.90
Doyle, Steve Dem I A94 $132,183.40 $174,235.40
Meyers, Beth Dem I A74 $117,322.86 $145,129.58
Piotrowski, Paul Dem C S24 $110,471.38 $85,206.15
Vining, Robyn Dem I A14 $101,179.40 $139,480.50
Schachtner, Patty Dem I S10 $79,977.04 $145,174.01
Roys, Kelda Helen Dem O S26 $76,467.96 $80,819.43
Marion, Kriss Dem C A51 $75,568.90 $64,827.69
Andraca, Deb Dem C A23 $72,756.18 $92,625.54
Ballweg, Joan Rep O S14 $71,650.00 $83,921.35
Lee, Bonnie Rep C A14 $68,323.28 $37,130.27
Griffin, Dan Rep O S28 $60,652.50 $40,491.79
Czaja-Felzkowski, Mary J Rep O S12 $60,080.00 $101,672.82
Feyen, Dan Rep I S18 $60,032.00 $144,570.90
Darling, Alberta Rep I S08 $55,511.00 $181,394.16
Ott, Jim Rep I A23 $51,035.00 $51,668.12
Johnson, LaTonya Dem I S06 $49,136.20 $65,506.77
Hansen, Jonathon Dem O S30 $47,328.11 $26,253.03
Plotkin, Neal Dem C S08 $44,702.38 $36,035.36
Bradley, Julian Rep O S28 $44,245.79 $22,425.50
Sargent, Melissa Agard Dem O S16 $43,938.30 $112,397.97
Tusler, Ron Rep I A03 $43,821.68 $53,817.66
Testin, Patrick Rep I S24 $42,497.18 $261,842.96
Yacoub, Sarah Dem C A30 $41,513.86 $40,742.92
Lyerly, Kristin Dem C A88 $41,050.10 $37,928.30
Rodriguez, Sara Dem C A13 $39,483.17 $36,860.87
Asbury, Lauri Rep O A55 $38,064.70 $1,588.17
Stafsholt, Rob Rep C S10 $36,329.38 $112,352.54
Winker, Melissa Dem C A38 $33,761.72 $22,971.27
James, Jesse Rep I A68 $33,460.00 $37,790.87
Becker, Mason Dem C A33 $33,117.10 $24,436.54
Baldeh, Samba Dem O A48 $32,397.80 $22,907.45
Murphy, Adam Dem O S28 $32,278.99 $29,292.13
Bredeson, Dewey Dem O A76 $32,000.00 $32,000.00
Vos, Robin Rep I A63 $31,757.44 $355,117.82
Link, Cherie Rep C S10 $31,356.00 $41,351.85
Milroy, Nick Dem I A73 $30,884.20 $26,221.10
Oldenburg, Loren Rep I A96 $30,804.78 $35,900.29
Snyder, Patrick Rep I A85 $30,345.00 $42,884.55
Siegrist, Emily Dem C A24 $30,071.17 $35,573.09
Shelton, Kristina Dem C A90 $29,382.20 $16,728.52
Malinowski, Jacob Dem C A82 $28,584.03 $23,045.83
Kline, Neil R Rep O A29 $28,375.00 $18,824.33
Callahan, Calvin Rep O A35 $28,352.17 $22,679.93
Driscoll, Heather Dem O A76 $28,136.15 $17,422.51
WhiteEagle, Amanda Dem C A92 $27,681.16 $24,660.45
Elmikashfi, Nada Dem O S26 $27,072.73 $25,435.24
Macco, John Rep I A88 $26,014.00 $53,701.13
Cabral-Guevara, Rachel Rep O A55 $24,196.05 $13,216.17
Brooks, Erik Dem C A21 $23,787.26 $20,578.37
Novak, Todd Rep I A51 $23,521.38 $47,091.62
Gruszynski, Staush Dem I A90 $23,498.22 $27,288.80
Hinkfuss, Kathy A Dem C A04 $23,466.14 $18,414.53
Zimmerman, Shannon Rep I A30 $22,265.58 $42,609.53
Neubauer, Greta Dem I A66 $22,154.38 $21,769.92
Lemmer, Lindsay Dem O A48 $21,429.13 $17,913.26
Conley, Sue Dem O A44 $21,258.09 $18,228.65
Hong, Francesca Dem O A76 $21,150.00 $11,964.50
Jacobsen, Joel Dem C A63 $21,010.70 $17,799.34
Vruwink, Don Dem I A43 $20,641.39 $23,335.71
Miller, Crystal J Rep C A65 $20,483.49 $18,047.37
Stewart, Walter Dem O A48 $20,472.60 $9,936.79
Snodgrass, Lee Dem O A57 $20,410.72 $41,099.32
Kurtz, Tony Rep I A50 $20,090.00 $66,744.53
Nygren, John Rep I A89 $19,631.86 $142,829.46
Born, Mark L Rep I A39 $19,097.00 $50,742.65
Hintz, Gordon Dem I A54 $18,679.10 $64,517.02
Rummel, Marsha A Dem O A76 $18,627.94 $11,346.54
Murphy-Lopez, Shaun Dem C A49 $17,735.69 $13,693.85
Lochner-Abel, Elizabeth Dem C A31 $17,335.10 $23,185.20
Stroebel, Duey Rep I S20 $16,922.19 $43,026.13
Williams, Tyrone Cratic Dem O A76 $16,796.52 $12,511.10
Bautch, JoAnna Dem O A08 $16,779.57 $14,995.35
Shankland, Katrina Dem I A71 $16,243.82 $67,246.49
Kapsner, Chris Dem C A67 $16,124.34 $19,532.72
Herman, Donny Rep C A54 $15,850.00 $15,850.00
Severson, DuWayne Rep O A44 $15,691.00 $11,578.00
Vukovic, Tomika Dem O A11 $15,472.33 $13,987.63
Bobowski, Steve Rep O S28 $15,430.86 $14,243.49
August, Tyler Rep I A32 $15,302.51 $66,280.46
Spreitzer, Mark Dem I A45 $14,980.21 $15,918.09
Vangalis, Jason Dem O A48 $14,527.00 $9,931.71
Beach, Eric J Rep O A57 $14,522.62 $2,482.52
Dallman, Alex Rep O A41 $14,485.00 $5,889.12
Walton, Chris Dem O A17 $14,480.62 $12,815.18
Subeck, Lisa Dem I A78 $14,225.59 $15,479.04
Wojciechowski, Aaron M Dem C S18 $13,508.88 $12,445.23
Owens, Orlando Rep O A11 $13,507.29 $10,444.26
Ohnstad, Tod Dem I A65 $13,403.38 $18,850.69
Wittke, Robert Rep I A62 $13,385.00 $25,461.95
Knodl, Dan Rep I A24 $13,240.00 $41,859.80
Rodriguez, Jessie Rep I A21 $13,189.00 $36,823.94
Billings, Jill Dem I A95 $13,172.32 $43,000.96
Sanfelippo, Joe Rep I A15 $13,107.57 $35,638.07
Moore Omokunde, Supreme Dem O A17 $12,931.19 $9,114.24
Emerson, Jodi Dem I A91 $12,767.39 $9,323.42
Skowronski, Ken Rep I A82 $12,679.14 $12,389.06
Magnafici, Gae Rep I A28 $12,180.00 $32,533.08
Tranel, Travis Rep I A49 $12,087.00 $63,419.80
Krug, Scott S Rep I A72 $12,065.00 $7,315.01
Bangstad, Kirk Dem C A34 $12,032.26 $9,298.88
Kern, Keith Rep C A73 $11,970.70 $9,106.01
Katzenmeyer, Jessica Dem C A15 $11,785.93 $6,260.08
Lowery, Abigail Dem C A37 $11,541.29 $7,583.45
Hoyer, Kevin Rep C A94 $11,502.86 $5,922.03
Butler, Kim Dem C A28 $11,482.88 $15,094.76
Haywood, Kalan Dem I A16 $11,334.81 $7,555.12
Steineke, Jim Rep I A05 $11,285.00 $32,327.70
McGuire, Tip Dem I A64 $11,244.47 $21,641.14
Rozar, Donna M Rep O A69 $11,091.00 $6,537.45
Delorit Jensen, Kim Dem C A01 $10,963.01 $10,049.00
Gretebeck, Tucker Dem C A96 $10,773.03 $8,356.06
Dittrich, Barbara Rep I A38 $10,710.00 $7,862.49
Berge, Emily Dem C A68 $10,617.67 $8,807.72
Vander Meulen, Nicki Dem O A76 $10,514.30 $8,596.54
Soik, Scott C Rep C A71 $10,472.00 $9,348.40
Gaulke, Katherine Dem C A32 $10,463.91 $15,745.30
Loudenbeck, Amy Rep I A31 $10,385.00 $85,862.62
Boucher, Linda Rep C A14 $10,268.95 $4,096.20
Cabrera, Marisabel Dem I A09 $10,110.20 $10,460.40
Swearingen, Rob Rep I A34 $9,955.00 $93,430.74
Kitchens, Joel Rep I A01 $9,910.00 $56,987.79
Zimdars, Nate Dem O A41 $9,746.08 $9,187.06
Johnson, Jeff Dem C A85 $9,519.85 $5,555.49
Duchow, Cindi Rep I A99 $9,490.00 $10,176.91
Moses, Clint Rep O A29 $9,217.81 $1,232.13
Plumer, Jon Rep I A42 $9,154.92 $11,492.45
Greening, Criste Dem C A72 $9,099.16 $7,128.99
Donohue, Mary Lynne Dem C A26 $9,042.69 $7,427.16
Steffen, David Rep I A04 $9,038.57 $104,959.86
Goyke, Evan Dem I A18 $9,024.86 $11,133.63
Tittl, Paul Rep I A25 $8,790.00 $21,858.37
Tauchen, Gary Rep I A06 $8,741.80 $12,793.27
Petryk, Warren Rep I A93 $8,705.00 $148,061.73
Pope, Sondy Dem I A80 $8,675.17 $15,283.70
Sortwell, Shae Rep I A02 $8,642.45 $15,430.26
Brooks, Robert Rep I A60 $8,620.11 $6,048.15
Sherley, Ryan Rep O A29 $8,384.34 $7,472.67
VanderMeer, Nancy Lynn Rep I A70 $8,305.00 $46,212.36
Maresh, Ali Dem O A76 $8,271.93 $3,498.38
Armstrong, David Rep O A75 $7,985.00 $6,832.28
Cowles, Robert Rep I S02 $7,944.26 $42,551.62
Warner, Charlene Charlie Dem C A93 $7,913.51 $6,357.16
Riemer, Daniel Dem I A07 $7,737.12 $60,756.61
Calabrese, John Rocco Dem O A29 $7,715.05 $6,384.56
Trask, Kerry Dem C A25 $7,641.49 $6,922.57
Voight, Emily Dem C A03 $7,565.12 $5,609.72
Katsma, Terry Rep I A26 $7,536.23 $67,169.13
Vocke, Ed Dem O S12 $7,329.41 $5,500.00
Myers, LaKeshia N Dem I A12 $7,148.85 $8,388.46
Ortiz-Velez, Sylvia Dem O A08 $7,042.49 $1,704.80
Schraa, Michael Rep I A53 $7,005.12 $29,369.65
Hebl, Gary Dem I A46 $6,872.11 $11,776.27
Imes, John Dem O S26 $6,839.66 $3,686.27
Summerfield, Rob Rep I A67 $6,835.00 $21,103.66
Considine, Dave Dem I A81 $6,683.85 $11,977.02
Hesselbein, Dianne Dem I A79 $6,574.24 $40,602.72
Allen, Scott Rep I A97 $6,565.00 $17,414.84
Horlacher, Cody Rep I A33 $6,420.00 $15,914.54
Drake, Dora Dem O A11 $6,333.50 $5,030.56
Wimberger, Eric Rep O S30 $6,225.00 $8,655.02
Pronschinske, Treig E Rep I A92 $6,141.75 $18,145.31
McCreary, Paul Dem C A82 $6,083.18 $2,729.15
Will, Gary A Rep O A41 $6,047.00 $2,826.47
Stubbs, Shelia Dem I A77 $6,004.00 $6,449.53
Dretske, Luke Rep O A41 $5,767.30 $2,701.38
Vorpagel, Tyler Rep I A27 $5,530.00 $12,232.39
Jaeger, Karl Dem C A89 $5,517.81 $3,817.76
Mursau, Jeffrey L Rep I A36 $5,480.00 $10,360.51
Drew, Beth Rep C A43 $5,347.71 $2,930.68
Fritz, Helmut Rep C A19 $5,262.31 $2,929.30
Gustina, Tawny Rep C A45 $5,200.00 $4,200.00
Gundrum, Rick Rep I A58 $4,920.00 $13,843.84
Jaynes, Josefine Dem C A96 $4,786.41 $4,039.37
Smith, Michael V Rep O A69 $4,750.00 $1,172.03
Croft, Marina Rep O S28 $4,661.20 $4,141.25
Arndt, Melisa Dem C A42 $4,615.71 $4,076.70
Nelson, Donald Rep O A35 $4,475.00 $3,440.10
Bolen, James Rep C A74 $4,430.00 $6,103.06
Edming, James W Rep I A87 $4,430.00 $6,795.12
Waldon, Mark Dem C A50 $4,397.31 $2,515.29
Brox, Mike Dem O A17 $4,366.00 $384.64
Bryant, Michelle Dem C S06 $4,185.00 $2,490.40
Fueger, Victoria Rep C A79 $4,100.09 $2,926.52
Saldivar, Christian Dem C A09 $4,075.00 $2,857.00
Ochoa, Rob Rep C A98 $4,050.00 $863.37
Petersen, Kevin Rep I A40 $4,050.00 $24,941.30
Anderson, Phil Rep C A47 $4,049.02 $2,725.31
Kuglitsch, Mike Rep I A84 $4,020.00 $29,676.47
Windheuser, Matthew F Rep O A69 $4,000.00 $2,135.41
Anderson, Jimmy Dem I A47 $3,916.81 $3,283.50
Schroeder, Julie Dem C A52 $3,914.08 $3,274.30
Shevey, Steven Rep C A14 $3,900.00 $992.19
Eisenbach, Abie Rep O A17 $3,714.00 $2,598.00
Slamka, Rob Dem C A78 $3,709.50 $1,250.00
Wichgers, Chuck Rep I A83 $3,660.00 $8,333.90
Thiesfeldt, Jeremy Rep I A52 $3,557.00 $15,691.44
Smith, Kimberly Dem C A80 $3,443.82 $540.81
Anderson, Joni D Dem O S14 $3,403.12 $2,283.92
Lyon, Terry Rep C A46 $3,370.00 $3,046.76
Kerkman, Samantha Rep I A61 $3,265.00 $4,507.17
Walker, Charlie Rep C A91 $3,265.00 $2,223.28
Giles, Brian Dem O A69 $3,165.00 $2,208.64
Moe, Aisha Dem O S26 $3,119.55 $3,019.94
Ruprecht, Tyler E Dem O A35 $3,098.35 $1,270.24
Brostoff, Jonathan Dem I A19 $3,051.00 $6,050.19
Hassey Nevarez, Izzy Dem C A39 $3,036.39 $1,230.37
McKinney, Andrew Dem O S16 $2,980.00 $724.60
Spiros, John Rep I A86 $2,765.00 $11,732.77
Benford, Brian Dem O S26 $2,731.11 $301.46
Baldus, John Iver Dem C A70 $2,648.84 $2,150.00
Schierl, Daniel Dem O A55 $2,605.02 $2,261.98
Pulcher, Richard Dem C A87 $2,443.11 $311.59
Kohlhoff, Pete Rep C A54 $2,436.06 $1,376.75
Miller, Tim Rep O A69 $2,350.00 $367.13
Anderson, Samuel Rep O A48 $2,295.64 $1,035.00
Jagler, John Rep I A37 $2,270.00 $26,903.66
Perry, Aaron D Dem C A97 $2,257.40 $1,270.30
Hull, Patrick Rep O A76 $2,234.51 $1,500.00
DeYoung, Alan R Dem C A83 $2,207.04 $1,116.12
Binnie, Chase Rep C A80 $2,113.00 $1,570.75
Silvers, Deb Dem C A40 $2,086.10 $1,036.17
Gundersen, Jerome Rep C A95 $2,055.00 $2,055.00
Dahlke, David J Rep C A81 $2,037.29 $965.00
Neylon, Adam Rep I A98 $2,030.00 $32,659.66
Rich, Andi Rep C A89 $1,965.00 $492.12
Taylor, Lena C Dem I S04 $1,882.00 $1,036.59
Barker, Scott Rep O S16 $1,860.00 $997.76
Murphy, Dave Rep I A56 $1,811.13 $22,269.90
Cox, Ozell Rep C A12 $1,736.00 $1,084.95
Kirsteatter, Drew Rep C A90 $1,735.00 $657.26
Lawrence, Diana Dem C A56 $1,715.00 $771.40
Harsh, Chuck Rep O A41 $1,709.11 $50.00
Brandtjen, Janel Rep I A22 $1,700.00 $10,998.79
Murguia, Enrique Dem O A08 $1,557.00 $1,165.06
Sinicki, Christine Dem I A20 $1,503.98 $1,120.52
Reimer, Chris Rep C A60 $1,450.07 $1,206.00
Wirch, Robert Dem I S22 $1,125.10 $62,057.17
Hutton, Rob Rep I A13 $1,120.00 $28,495.49
Kiley, Mark Dem C A02 $1,101.49 $432.68
Diaz, Veronica Rep C A09 $1,000.00 $1,000.00
Sarnwick, Richard Dem C A06 $1,000.00 $771.87
Van Dyke, Ken Sr Rep O S14 $1,000.00 $954.00
Velez, Ruben Rep O A08 $1,000.00 $1,000.00
LaFave, Aaron A Dem C A85 $970.63 $601.27
Cook, Curtis II Dem O A11 $949.52 $232.00
Ewald, Sandra Dem O S30 $899.16 $0.00
Moesch, Simon A Dem C A06 $750.00 $188.75
Schroeder, Jay Rep O A55 $500.00 $0.00
Swiggum, Jayne Dem O S32 $261.40 $0.00
Weber, Paul Michael Dem O S32 $200.00 $0.00
Bartz, Jean Ind O A41 $100.00 $90.00
Brown, Leroy II Ind C A94 $0.00 $0.00
Ciske, Marc Adam Ind C A82 $0.00 $0.00
Connelly, Joseph Ind C A53 $0.00 $0.00
Davis, William Henry III Dem O S26 $0.00 $0.00
Deacon, Alciro Rep C S06 $0.00 $0.00
Ellenson, John C Dem O A75 $0.00 $0.00
Engstrand, Jim Rep O S28 $0.00 $0.00
Gates, Carl Dem O A11 $0.00 $0.00
Hibsch, Ed Rep C A64 $0.00 ($1,042.07)
Kafkas, Theodore D Rep C A82 $0.00 $0.00
Latimer Burris, Amani Dem O S26 $0.00 $0.00
Leverson, Will Rep C A66 $0.00 $0.00
Ramthun, Timothy Rep I A59 $0.00 $86.34
Ratzlaff, Stephen W Jr Ind C A37 $0.00 $0.00
Sanchez, Angel C Rep O A08 $0.00 $47.02
Schutz, August Dem C A62 $0.00 $0.00
Walton, Dennis C Ind C A16 $0.00 $0.00
Bowen, David* Dem I A10 N/A N/A

*July report not available.

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