Outside electioneering groups outspent the candidates in last fall’s record $14 million race for Wisconsin attorney general, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.
Nineteen special interest groups doled out $7.58 million (see Table below), including $4.18 million to support Republican candidates in the primary and general election and $3.4 million to back incumbent Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul, who won reelection.
The five candidates – Kaul and four Republicans – spent a combined $6.42 million with Kaul leading the pack at $4.8 million. Kaul’s final ballot opponent, Eric Toney, spent $962,884. The three other GOP candidates spent a combined $661,013 before Toney sidelined them in the Aug. 9 primary.
The total spent by groups and candidates in the 2022 attorney general’s race came to $13,996,086, which beat the previous record in 2018 by just $949.
The top-spending outside groups in the race were:
Republican Attorneys General Association, in Washington, D.C., which spent $3.11 million through a state political action committee called Wisconsin Freedom PAC . The group spent its money on television and online ads and mailings that accused Kaul of being soft on crime and cutting funds for new officer training and the State Crime Lab;
Democratic Attorneys General Association, in Washington, D.C., which spent $1.9 million through an independent expenditure committee called DAGA People’s Lawyer Project . The sponsored television and online advertising that said Toney would prosecute doctors and nurses for performing abortions and supported making the procedure a felony with no exceptions for rape or incest;
Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-backed state group which spent nearly $550,000 on canvassing, mailings, and digital and radio advertising to support Adam Jarchow, one of the GOP candidates Toney defeated in the primary.
To learn how much was spent by all of the outside groups involved in Wisconsin’s 2022 race for attorney general, please see the table below. For more information about the groups and their electioneering activities, check out their profiles in our Hijacking Campaign 2022 feature.
|Wisconsin Freedom PAC (Republican Attorneys General Association)||$3,114,213|
|DAGA People’s Lawyer Project (Democratic Attorneys General Association)||$1,899,564|
|Americans for Prosperity||$549,691|
|Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin Political Fund||$474,952|
|Badger Values PAC||$407,483|
|A Better Wisconsin Together Political Fund||$400,000|
|For Our Future||$264,480|
|Wisconsin Conservation Voters Independent Expenditure Committee||$193,492|
|Voces de la Frontera Action Inc.||$72,712|
|Wisconsin Family Action||$69,102|
|BLOC PAC (Black Leaders Organizing for Communities)||$43,251|
|Leaders Igniting Transformation Action Fund||$18,722|
|NRA Political Victory Fund – Federal PAC||$18,674|
|Volunteers for Agriculture (Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation)||$15,261|
|AFSCME Working Families Fund||$14,716|
|Blue Sky Waukesha||$11,799|
|NextGen Climate Action Committee||$8,053|
|Power to the Polls Wisconsin||$737|
|Human Rights Campaign Equality Votes PAC||$32|