Outside Spending Mounts in Senate Special Election

June 1, 2018

Outside group spending is escalating in a special election in northeastern Wisconsin’s 1st Senate District, where Democratic organizations were outspending a Republican group nearly 2-to-1.

Democrat Caleb Frostman faces GOP Rep. Andre Jacque, of De Pere, on the June 12 ballot. To date, five outside groups have announced plans to spend more than $435,000 in the race since the May primary. Here’s a look at those groups and what they’re up to:

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters political action committee is spending about $170,750 on staff, television and radio ads, and other campaign material to support Frostman;

Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, which secretly raises and spends on behalf of conservative and Republican candidates, has purchased $150,360 worth of ads at three Green Bay television stations to support Jacque;

Greater Wisconsin Political Fund, which backs Democratic legislative and statewide candidates, has booked about $53,000 in ads in the Green Bay television market to support Frostman;

National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which was created in 2016 by former Democratic U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, is spending $35,000 on online advertising to support Frostman;

For Our Future, which was formed in 2016 by billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer and national labor groups to support Democrats for state and federal offices, is spending $27,320 on brochures and staff to support Frostman.

A second special election, in Wisconsin’s southern 42nd Assembly District, has drawn about $40,000 in outside group spending. Democrat Ann Groves Lloyd faces Republican Jon Plumer. Three groups are sponsoring electioneering activities in that race, including:

For Our Future, which is spending about $16,700 on staff and brochures to support Lloyd.

National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is spending $15,000 on online advertising to support Lloyd.

Wisconsin Realtors Political Fund, which is spending about $8,300 on online advertising and robocalls to support Plumer.

The winners of the two special elections will have to run again in the regular November elections.