Money pouring in for Wisconsin congressional races


U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has the biggest war chest among Wisconsin’s House members going into his 2018 re-election bid, a check of the FEC site shows.

The La Crosse Democrat, who’s facing GOP opponent Steve Toft, ended the quarter with more than $3 million cash on hand after raising $246,573 over the first three months of the year.

Kind spent $288,942 over the period, which runs from Jan. 1 to March 31.

He outraised Toft, who brought in $82,268 over the period to end with $103,152 cash on hand. Toft also spent $32,224.

Other House members on the 2018 ballot with more than $1 million in the bank include:

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, who had nearly $2.3 million in the bank after raising $350,771 over the period. The Wausau Republican also spent $223,121.

Duffy outraised each of his three Dem challengers who’ve filed statements of candidacy with the FEC. The three all officially announced bids within the last few months.

That includes Kyle Frenette, the manager of indie artist Bon Iver, who logged $243,716 in donations; spent $79,173; and finished the period with $164,543 cash on hand. While Frenette officially filed a statement of candidacy on Jan. 29, his FEC report covers “testing the waters activity” dating back to Dec. 6.

Marshfield physician Brian Ewert raised $107,989, spent $22,772, and finished the first three months of the year with $85,216 in the bank.

Meanwhile, former Balsam Lake attorney Margaret Engebretson trailed behind her primary opponents, raising $13,723, spending $5,008, and ending the period with $8,716 cash on hand.

And U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, who logged $1.2 million cash on hand after raising $404,073 over the quarter. He also spent $188,425.

His Dem challenger, Beau Liegeois, raised $38,399. The Brown County assistant district attorney also spent $29,251 and had $32,408 in the bank.

Money will have a big impact in two other congressional races – in southeastern Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, being vacated by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville; and in east central Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District, now held by U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman.

While the Republican field in the 1st was still settling as of April 19, one candidate stood out in the Democratic field. Randy Bryce pulled in a total of $2.2 million during the first quarter of 2018, which ran from Jan. 1 to March 31. The Caledonia ironworker spent $1.2 million over the period, ending with nearly $2.3 million in the bank.

Cathy Myers, Bryce’s primary challenger, raised $506,804 over the period, less than a quarter of Bryce’s effort. She spent $436,322 over the period, leaving her with $177,107 cash on hand, up from the $106,626 she had in the bank in December.

In the 6th money race, Grothman continues to lag Democrat Dan Kohl, the nephew of former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl. Kohl says he’s pulled in $354,000 over the first three months of the year. Grothman, meanwhile, raised $276,053 over the period that covers January through March, according to a check of his most recent FEC report.

The figure means Kohl’s raised a total of $1.2 million since he got into the race in early June last year, according to his campaign. Kohl also has $841,000 cash on hand and spent around $126,000.

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