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Wisconsin legislative races already taking shape for 2022

WisPolitics.com Democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin who narrowly won their seats are gearing up for 2022 campaigns as they face Republican opposition and the uncertainties of redistricting.

Freshman Rep. Sara Rodriguez, D-Brookfield, an expected target for Republicans after she won her seat by just 1.9 percentage points, raised nearly $58,700, the second-most in the Assembly during the first six months of 2021. The biggest fundraiser was Rep. Elijah Behnke, R-Oconto, who raised nearly $64,900 as he won a special election earlier this year. Behnke reported spending just under $50,000 and has more than $18,900 in the bank.

Rodriguez, whose district favored Joe Biden by 9 percentage points, had more than $46,200 in cash on hand, the most out of targeted Democrats and 16th highest in the state Assembly, according to state filings this week. Rep. Warren Petryk, R-Town of Washington, has the most cash on hand in the Assembly at nearly $150,000.

Rep. Deb Andraca, D-Whitefish Bay, another likely target, raised nearly $29,300 this year, but has spent just over $17,000, the most in the Assembly, excluding Behnke. Andraca, who has also accumulated $10,000 in loans, is expected to be a target for Republicans after she defeated Republican Jim Ott in 2020 by just 3.3 percentage points.

Rep. Nick Milroy, D-South Range, was re-elected in 2020 by only 139 votes and his district favored Biden by just over 1 percentage point. He had just under $35,900 in cash on hand but has raised only $590 this year.

Rep. Steve Doyle, D-Onalaska, who raised more than $14,400 and had more than $121,700 in cash, won his race by more than 7 percentage points. But Trump won in his district by less than 1 percentage point.

Rep. Beth Meyers, D-Bayfield, whose district voted for Trump by 1.6 percentage points, has raised just over $7,500 this year but has more than $32,700 in cash on hand. Meyers held on to her seat by just 3 points in 2020.

In the Senate, Republicans are poised to target Sen. Jeff Smith, D-Brunswick, whose district favored Trump by 3.4 percentage points. Smith won his most recent election by 5.7 percentage points. He raised just under $16,500 so far this year and has just under than $18,200 in the bank.

Trump won the district of Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley, D-Mason, by nearly 9 points. She raised just under $5,400 this year and had more than $38,500 in cash.

Democrats have their own targets as well. Rep. Dan Knodl, R-Germantown, won his 2020 election by less than 3 percentage points while Biden won in the district by 4.3 percentage points. Knodl had almost $17,000 in the bank but had raised just under $1,300 and listed $17,000 in loans.

Rep. Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville, maintained his seat by 4.1 percentage points while Biden and Trump each won 49.2 percent of his district’s vote. Novak has raised just under $13,300 this year and reported $10,300 in the bank.

Other vulnerable Republican lawmakers include Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield. Kooyenga maintained his seat by just 2.4 percentage points as Biden won in his district by 8.5 percentage points. He has raised just under $63,800 this year, the third-most in the Senate excluding Sen. John Jagler, R-Watertown, who ran in and won a special election. Kooyenga has almost $115,900 in his campaign account.

Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, maintained her seat by 8.5 percentage points, but Trump won her district by a tenth of a percentage point. Darling has raised $10,600 this year and reported more than $14,200 in cash on hand.

Republican leaders could also face Democratic challengers or late money next year, like the state Democratic Party funds that came into play late in the 2020 campaign. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has raised more than $33,500 and has more than $126,800 cash on hand, while Senate President Chris Kapenga has raised $11,000 so far this year with over $55,000 in cash on hand. Both lawmakers live in strong Republican districts.

For more, visit WisPolitics.com The Capitol Report is written by editorial staff at WisPolitics. com, a nonpartisan, Madison-based news service that specializes in coverage of government and politics, and is distributed for publication by members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

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