Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen was elected to a four-year term in the November 2006 elections. By winning a Republican primary against Waukesha District Attorney Paul Bucher and narrowly defeating Democrat Kathleen Falk, who had unseated the Democratic incumbent in the primary, he became the first Republican elected attorney general since 1986.
Van Hollen served as U.S. Attorney for Wisconsin’s Western District from 2002 until 2005 when he resigned to enter the attorney general’s race. Before becoming U.S. Attorney, Van Hollen had been Bayfield County district attorney since 1999, and Ashland County district attorney from 1993 until 1999. He was initially appointed to both jobs by former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson who served with Van Hollen’s father in the Legislature. Van Hollen held jobs between 1990 and 1993 as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Madison and a state public defender in Spooner.
Van Hollen was graduated in 1990 from the University of Wisconsin Law School and from St. Olaf College in Minnesota in 1988 with a degree in political science and economics. He was born February 19, 1966 and grew up in Chetek and the town of Delta in northern Wisconsin.
Campaign Fundraising Summary
Van Hollen entered the attorney general race in 2005 and raised a total of $1.72 million in the 2006 election cycle. The figure includes $700,000 in personal loans Van Hollen lent his campaign. This figure accounted for 41% of all fundraising by Van Hollen during the campaign. Van Hollen spent $1.68 million and had $41,051 in his campaign account at the close of the 2006 election cycle.
Van Hollen raised $169,305 in political party and PAC contributions. Political and ideological interests accounted for $38,715 of his committee contributions, including $21,000 from the state Republican Party. The real estate and construction industries, which strongly opposed Falk because of her environmental views, gave Van Hollen $36,500 and $23,310, respectively. Van Hollen accepted $21,500 in business PAC contributions, most of it from Wal-Mart’s PAC which gave him $21,000.
Candidate, Issue Ad and Independent Spending
Like the governor’s race, the 2006 attorney general’s race set new spending records by the candidates and outside special interest groups. The candidates and issue ad and independent expenditure groups spent a combined $8.3 million, shattering the previous record $1.65 million spent in the 2002 attorney general’s race.
The four candidates spent $4.72 million led by Democratic candidate Kathleen Falk who spent $1.72 million and .followed by Van Hollen, who spent $1.68 million.
Issue ad and independent expenditure groups spent a record $3.6 million on the attorney general’s race. Phony issue ad groups doled out $3.4 million led by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business group. WMC spent an estimated $2.5 million, mostly on negative television advertising against Falk. In addition to WMC, the conservative Coalition for America’s Families ran television ads against Falk and the left-leaning Greater Wisconsin Committee aired television ads against Van Hollen.
Independent expenditure groups spent $202,690 on the race. Over half of this had nothing to do with Van Hollen as the Democratic Attorneys General Association spent $103,695 on television ads to support Lautenschlager in her primary against Falk. The next leading spender, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation spent $51,380 through its PAC, Volunteers for Agriculture, to support Van Hollen.
2006 Campaign Finance Summary
Van Hollen |
Raised: $1,721,203 - Spent: $1,677,449
Vote: 50.2% - Cost/Vote: $1.57
Independent Backing: $91,589
Raised: $1,497,597 - Spent: $1,719,146
Vote: 49.7% - Cost/Vote: $1.63
Independent Backing: $7,299
*All figures represent candidate income before any returns.
Individuals and Committees*
|Manufacturing & Distributing||$70,050.00|
|Banking & Finance||$66,717.49|
|Civil servant/public employee||$27,300.00|
|Telecommunications & Computers||$5,790.00|
|*Excludes any returned and self contributions.|
|Van Hollen, JB & Lynne||Waunakee, WI||Candidate/DeWitt, Ross & Stevens||$710,000|
|Kman, James P & Peggy||Iron River, WI||US Postal Service/Van Hollen Realty||$19,000|
|Carlson, Barbara A||Iron River, WI||Retired||$10,000|
|Mohr, Lawrence G Jr||Woodside, CA||Investor||$10,000|
|Van Hollen, John C||Iron River, WI||Van Hollen Realty||$10,000|
|Pantton, Mildred A||Green Bay, WI||Retired||$8,100|
|MacDonough, John & Kathleen||Chenequa, WI||Retired||$6,572|
|Quam, David & Terry||Willmar, MN||Quam Construction||$6,200|
|Bechthold Family||Delafield, WI||Payne & Dolan/Zenith Tech||$6,000|
|Hendricks, Ken & Diane||Janesville, WI||ABC Supply Co||$6,000|
|Oldfield, Russell A||Nashville, TN||Retired||$6,000|
Favoring Van Hollen