Money and Wisconsin Elections in 2018-19

January 6, 2020

All numbers are for calendar years unless indicated otherwise.

2018 Legislative Candidates and Elections

Number of legislative seats up for election in the 2018 general election: 116.

Number of candidates running for legislature on the primary ballot in the 2018 fall election: 238. 2016 election: 230. 2014 election: 247. In 2012: 298. In 2010: 312.

Number of legislative seats where candidates from both major parties appeared on the ballot: November 2018: 74 out of 116. November 2016: 58 out of 115 . In November 2014: 61 out of 116 . In November 2012: 82 out of 115. In November 2010: 83 out of 116.

Number of candidates with no ballot opposition from any party in November 2018: 37. November 2016: 50. In November 2014: 49. In November 2012: 26. In November 2010: 25.

First election using current gerrymandered districts drawn by the Republican controlled legislature: 2012.Ballot Box

Number of Democrats with no ballot opposition from any party in November 2018: 29. Republicans 8.

Number of incumbents running for reelection in 2018. Democrats: 37. Republicans: 63.

Number of incumbents challenged in the 2018 primaries: 4. Democrats: 3. Republicans: 1.

Number of incumbents who lost in the primaries: 2. Democrats: 2. Republicans: 0.

Number of incumbents who lost in general election in 2018: 1. Democrats: 1. Republicans: 0.

Party representation in the Assembly after the 2018 fall election: Democrats 36. Republicans: 63.

Democratic share of the vote for the Assembly in 2018: 53.6%. Republican share: 44.8%

Votes for Assembly candidates in 2018: Democrats: 1,319,702. Republicans: 1,104,433. Third-Party and Independents: 36,940.

Party representation in the Senate: Democrats 14: Republicans 19.

Combined* Democratic share of the vote for the Senate in 2016 and 2018: 49.4%. Republican: 50.4%.

Vote** for Senate candidates in 2018: Democrats: 617,118. Republicans: 685,105. Third-Party and Independents: 2,049.

Vote*** for Senate candidates in 2016: Democrats: 639,545. Republicans: 618,589. Third-Party and Independents: 2,093.

Number of competitive**** seats in the the 2018 election: 17. 2016 election: 8. In 2014: 11. In 2012: 17. In 2010: 24.

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*Only half of the Senate is up for reelection in any given election year. The count excludes the 10th Senate District 2016 vote but includes the special election in for that seat held in January 2018. 2018 special election vote for 1st Senate excluded as that seat was up for reelection in the fall.
**Vote in 1st Senate District
special election excluded.
***Includes the 10th Senate District total.
****Vote spread of ten percentage points.

Money in Fall 2018 Legislative Elections

Election year income for all 238 candidates in the 2018 fall election from all sources: $14.5 million. For 230 candidates in 2016: $13.7 million. For 247 candidates in 2014: $10.1 million.

Amount of 2018 income from individuals: $7.6 million. From PACs, parties and candidate committees: $6.9 million.Ballot Box with Cash

Amount of 2016 income from individuals: $6.7 million. From PACs, parties and candidate committees: $7 million.

Amount of 2014 income from individuals: $8.4 million. From PACS, parties and candidate committees: $1.7 million.

Percentage change in candidate total income from 2014 to 2018: +43.6%.

Year that new Republican written campaign finance laws doubling contribution limits and loosening reporting requirements went into effect: 2016.

Party share of income in 2018: Democrats: $6.6 million. Republicans: $7.9 million. Third Party and Independents: $33,800.

In 2016: Democrats: $6.7 million. Republicans: $7 million. Third-Party and Independents: $43,000.

Total candidate spending* in 2018: $15.2 million. In 2016: $13.5 million. In 2014: $8 million.

Spending in 2018 by Democrats: $6.5 million. Republicans: $8.6 million.

Spending in 2016 by Democrats: $6.7 million. Republicans: $6.8 million.

Spending in 2014 by Democrats: $3 million. Republicans: $5 million.

Special interest spending on legislative races in the form of "independent expenditures" and "issue ads" in 2018: $12.2 million. 2016: $9 million. In 2014: $4.9 million.

Percentage change in such spending since 2014: +151.7%.

Reported amount on independent expenditures: 2018: $6.7 million. 2016: $4.4 million. In 2014: $1.9 million.

Estimated issue ad spending in 2018: $5.5 million. 2016: $4.6 million. In 2014: $3 million.

Highest spending special interest group in 2018 legislative races: Greater Wisconsin Committee, $3.8 million

Highest spending special interest group in 2016 legislative races: Greater Wisconsin Committee, $2.1 million.

Highest in 2014: Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, $1.5 million.

Race with the most spending in 2018: 17th Senate District: $4.5 million.

Amount spent by candidates in the 17th Senate District: $1.46 million.

Race with the most spending in 2016: 18th Senate District, $5.1 million.

Amount spent by candidates in the 18th Senate District: $1.1 million.

Highest spending legislative race in 2014: 17th Senate District: $2.9 million.

Amount spent by the candidates in the 17th Senate District: $700,000.

Assembly race with the most spending in 2018: 51st Assembly District, $768,000.

Amount spent by the candidates in the 51st Assembly District: $566,000.

Assembly race with the most spending in 2016: 51st Assembly District, $1.4 million.

Amount spent by candidates in the 51st Assembly District: $846,000.

Assembly race with the most spending in 2014: 70th Assembly District, $376,000.

Amount spent by candidates in the 70th Assembly District: $216,000.

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*Spending includes committee to committee transfers.

Governor and Lieutenant Governor

Total raised in 2018 by the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor on the November ballot: $32 million.

Total raised in 2014: $42.2 million.

Amount from individuals in 2018: $20.7 million. From committees: $11.3 million.

Amount from individuals in 2014: $35.8 million. From committees: $6.1 million.

Total spent in 2018 by the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor on the November ballot: $37.2 million.

Total spent in 2014: $48 million

Special interest spending on governor and lieutenant governor races in the form of "independent expenditures" and "issue ads" in 2018: $40.6 million. In 2014: $27.8 million.

Reported amount on independent expenditures: 2018: $24.7 million. 2014: $16 million.

Estimated issue ad spending in 2018: $15.9 million. 2014: $11.8 million.

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Attorney General

Total raised in 2018 by the Democratic and Republican candidates for attorney general on the November ballot: $3.6 million

Total raised in 2014: $2.2 million.

Amount from individuals in 2018: $2.7 million. From committees: $920,000.

Amount from individuals in 2014: $1.7 million . From committees: $500,000.

Special interest spending on the attorney general race in the form of "independent expenditures" and "issue ads" in 2018: $9 million. In 2014: $3.9 million.

Reported amount on independent expenditures: 2018: $5.3 million. 2014: $1 million.

Estimated issue ad spending in 2018: $3.7 million. 2014: $2.9 million.

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Supreme Court

Total income* for the two Supreme Court candidates in 2019: $2.7 million.Gavel on Cash

Total income for the three Supreme Court candidates in 2018: $1.9 million.

Total income for the three Supreme Court candidates in 2016: $1.5 million.

Total income for the two Supreme Court candidates in 2015: $832,000.

Total income for the three Supreme Court candidates in 2013: $1 million.

Total income for the four Supreme Court candidates in 2011: $1.4 million.

Amount of candidates' 2011 income from Democracy Trust Fund: $900,000.

Amount from Democracy Trust Fund** since 2011: $0.

Supreme Court candidate spending in 2019: $3.6 million. 2018: $2.4 million. 2016: $2.1 million. 2015: $1.15 million. 2013: $1.08 million. 2011: $1.45 million.

Special interest spending in 2019: $4.5 million. 2018: $2.8 million. 2016: $3.1 million. 2015: $170,000. 2013: $1.2 million. 2011: $4.5 million.

Amount of that in the form of disclosed independent expenditures in 2019 Supreme Court race: $3.3 million. 2018: $791,000. 2016: $224,000. In 2015: $2,200. In 2013: $351,000. 2011: $215,000.

Estimated amount from undisclosed "issue ads" in 2019: $1.2 million. 2018: $1.35 million. 2016: $2.9 million. In 2015: $168,000. In 2013: $850,000. 2011: $4.3 million.

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*Income and spending refers to first six months of election years only. Fundraising or spending before the beginning of the year is excluded. Supreme Court elections are held in April.
**Repealed in 2011 by the Republican-controlled legislature and the governor.