Illinois businesswoman Liz Uihlein put $220,000 into the effort to elect Republican Rebecca Kleefisch guv, according to new campaign finance filings.
Liz Uihlein’s support of Kleefisch through a $20,000 donation to the former lieutenant governor’s campaign and $200,000 to a PAC dedicated to supporting her is significant with chatter picking up that Kevin Nicholson is poised to launch his own bid for the GOP guv nomination.
Liz Uihlein’s husband, Dick Uihlein, was a major backer of groups that supported Nicholson’s 2018 U.S. Senate bid, and insiders have been watching for signs of how the two GOP donors would line up in the guv’s race.
Kleefisch announced her preliminary fundraising numbers last week. The report she filed yesterday shows in addition to raising nearly $3.4 million, she spent $962,142 and had $2.6 million in the bank.
All but $61,000 of what Kleefisch raised was from individuals. The PAC contributions include $50,000 from Huck PAC, the group tied to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Gov. Tony Evers hadn’t filed his report as of last night. He announced last week he raised more than $5 million during the six-month period and had $10.5 million cash on hand.
Altogether, 60 donors gave Kleefisch the maximum donation of $20,000. That accounted for more than a third of the $3.3 million she raised from individuals during the period.
Those who contributed $20,000 include: Middleton developer Terrence Wall; Waukesha businessman Robert Kern; Louis Gentine and his son, who are both tied to Sargento Foods; and Kwik Trip President and CEO Don Zietlow.
Her $10,000 donors include former Education Secretary Besty DeVos and her husband Dick. Both are major school choice backers.
The $200,000 Uihlein gave Freedom Wisconsin made up the bulk of the donations the PAC received from individuals. It also received $2,000 from Wall and $75,000 from Right Direction America, a conservative group that advocates for school choice, lower taxes and few government regulations on businesses, among other things.
Along with reporting $277,000 raised, Freedom Wisconsin spent $50,030 and had $226,970 in the bank.
State candidates and groups have until the end of today to file their reports with the state Ethics Commission.
See Kleefisch’s cover sheet here.
See the Freedom Wisconsin filing here.