Image by DonkeyHotey via flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/6262122778

Gov. Tony Evers and top GOP rival Rebecca Kleefisch are touting their fundraising numbers, portending another high-spending guv race.

Evers said he raised more than $5 million in the second half of 2021 and finished the year with $10.5 million in the bank.

Evers also raised $5 million during the first half of the year, and his campaign said the $10 million raised was the best haul for any incumbent guv in the year before seeking reelection.

Evers finished the year with $10.5 million in the bank. By comparison, former Gov. Scott Walker had $4.2 million in the bank at the end of 2017 before losing his reelection bid to Evers in November 2018. Walker had $4.6 million cash on hand at the end of 2013 before winning a second term the following year.

Kleefisch, meanwhile, said the $3.3 million she raised during the last four months of the year was one of the largest initial fundraising reports of any gubernatorial challenger.

By comparison, Evers raised $312,016 during the second half of 2017, when he was coming off a successful reelection as state superintendent and launched his bid for guv.

Kleefisch didn’t release how much she had in the bank to finish the year. She had $189,948 in her campaign account at the end of June, two months before formally launching her campaign.

Kleefisch’s campaign said her fundraising didn’t include any transfers from the PAC she set up to help GOP candidates. Evers’ campaign didn’t say whether his latest haul includes a transfer from the state Dem Party, which gave him $1 million during the first half of 2021.

Neither campaign released full details of their reports, which are due to the state Ethics Commission Jan. 18.

According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the most expensive guv’s race in state history was the 2018 contest, when more than $93 million was spent by candidates and groups. That includes $36.2 million by Walker and Kleefisch and $10.8 million by Evers and running mate Mandela Barnes.

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