Election spending and modeling predictions
Ahead of the Greater Wausau Chamber's candidate forum Monday, here is what the federal and state candidates have raised, spent and how they're modeled to perform.
On Monday, the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce will host a candidate forum. That includes candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, and state assembly and senate.
Ahead of that, The Wausonian wanted to take a look at how much candidates are raising, how much they’re spending and who is donating. For the federal races, we also looked at FiveThirtyEight’s forecasts for the federal races, as well as governor. No model is perfect, but FiveThirtyEight’s models are considered some of the most accurate in the business.
But also important are campaign spending, raising and donations. Why? How much a candidate raises and where the money is coming from can be an early predictor of how the candidate will do. It can also signal how important the party views the race. For instance, Ausman hasn’t raised much money at all compared to Tiffany, which signals that the party apparatus doesn’t like Ausman’s chances against the incumbent. FiveThirtyEight’s model would seem to agree with that assessment.
(All reports are year to date. Some had pre-existing warchests.)
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Here is the spending breakdown:
US Senate (through Sept. 30)
Ron Johnson is seeking his third term in office after being elected in 2010 amidst a wave of Tea Party conseravatives. He faces off against challenger Mandela Barnes, who is currently Tony Evers’ lieutenant governor.
Ron Johnson (GOP, incumbent)
Total raised: $29.3
Spent: $24.8 million
Senate Conservatives Fund (Virg.) $21,3724
Warner Cline (Wisc.) $20,000
American Israel Public Affairs PAC (D.C.) $13,395
Mandela Barnes (DEM)
Total raised: $26.5 million
Spent: $23 million
Kim Muxyk (Fla.) $3,000
Andy Yaco-Mink (NY) $2,900
Martinus Nickerson (Wash.) $2,900
*Note: Candidates now receive money through online donations platforms which list the platform in election contribution databases. Winred is the Republican version, and ActBlue is the Democratic version.
FiveThirtyEight forecast: The site’s model gives Johnson a 74 in 100 chance of winning, and Barnes a 26 in 100 chance of winning. The models as of mid-September after had the race at 50-50 before their chances diverged again later into the fall.
Congress 7 (Through Sept. 30)
Incumbent Congressman Tom Tiffany is seeking his second term. The Minocqua Republican is facing off against Richard Ausman, who advanced to the fall election after winning the Democratic primary.
Tom Tiffany (GOP, incumbent)
Total raised: $1.04 million
Total spent: $805,000
Top three donors:
Jean Shannon (Wisc.) $11,600
Heidi Hazzard (Wisc.) $11,600
Joe Masterson (Fla.) $8,700
Richard Dick Ausman (DEM)
Total raised: $65,500
Total spent: $37,500
Kim Butler for Wisconsin $250
only one individual itemized contribution comes up on Ausman’s campaign page
FiveThirtyEight forecast: The site’s model gives Tiffany a more than 99 in 100 chance of winning, and Ausman a less than 1 in 100 chance of winning.
State Senate 29 (Thought August)
Democrat Bob Look and Republican Cory Tomczyk are facing off for the open seat left by the retirement of long-serving Republican Jerry Petrowski.
Bob Look (DEM)
Total raised: $9,794
Total spent: $2,210
Top three donors
Joan Cervenka (retired) $100
James Rosenberg (development director) $50
Katie Rosenberg (mayor) $50
* Look donated $500 to his own campaign to cover signs, according to the filing.
Cory Tomczyk (GOP)
Total raised: $55,634
Total spent: $50,634
Top three donors:
Kevin Hermening (financial planner) $2,000
Meryl Kelch (Financial planner) $500
* There are several donations $100 or less, or came from Tomcyzk himself
State Assembly 85 (Through August)
Pat Snyder is running for his third term in office. The Republican incumbent will face off against Democrat Kristin Conway, who is currently serving on the Schofield City Council.
Kristin Conway (DEM)
Total raised: $10,630
Total spent: $4,679
Top three donors:
Karla Jurvetson (Calif physician) $1,000
Allan Bernat (retired) $500
Joyce Luedtke (retired) $150
Pat Snyder (GOP, incumbent)
Total raised: $30,070
Total spent: $0
Top three donors:
Dwight Davis (chairman) $1,000
Matt Burrow (CEO Catalyst Construction) $1,000
* Multiple donors gave $500 — Wausau area donors are Keith Kocourek and Steven Brickner)
Tony Evers is seeking his second term of office, after he flipped the governor’s seat blue in 2018. He faces off against businessman Tim Michels, who defeated Trump favorite Rebecca Kleefisch in the August primary.
Tony Evers (DEM, incumbent)
Total raised: $15.7 million
Total spent: $20 million
Total raised: $16.2 million
Total spent $15.7 million
(The governor race reports don’t include individual contributions. I’m not sure why.)
FiveThirtyEight projections: The model has this race pretty tight, with Evers owning a slight advantage. The 538 model has Evers with a 55 in 100 chance of winning, and Michels with a 45 in 100 chance. Interestingly, that gap is the narrowest since the site modeled the race, going back to June 1.
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