In the struggle for the retiring state Sen. Janet Bewley’s seat in northwestern Wisconsin, former state Assembly representative Romaine Quinn, a Republican, has outraised Democratic candidate Kelly Westlund by about $140,000, according to the Follow the Money database, which collects campaign finance data reported to the state of Wisconsin.
Quinn has raised about $380,000 compared to Westlund’s $240,000. Both candidates for the 25th State Senate District seat can and likely will raise more money in the remaining days before the election.
Quinn received two $60,000 donations from the state Republican party on Oct. 28 and Nov. 1 to give him cash for the final few days.
Democrats are likely to respond, but Westlund had not reported to the state any last-minute cash infusions as of Friday.
Republicans hope to flip the seat in their quest to secure a veto-proof majority over the governor in the state legislature. The party needs ⅔ of seats in both houses to do so. The GOP is close right now, needing to flip five seats in the state Assembly and just one in the state Senate.
Quinn, who lives in Cameron, was elected to the state Assembly in 2014, and won three 2-year terms before leaving in 2020. Westlund is a small-business owner who lives in Ashland.
Individuals and political action committees can give a maximum of $2,000 to a candidate for state Senate. But political parties can accept an unlimited amount of campaign cash, and can donate an unlimited amount to candidates, due to a loophole in state campaign finance law.
The Wisconsin Republican Party has given Quinn more than $125,000. The state Democratic party has given Westlund more than $40,000.
Prominent donors to Quinn who gave him the maximum include the Tavern League of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. The political action committees of Alliant Energy, the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe, Koch Industries and Walmart have all given him $1,000.
Prominent donors to Westlund who gave the maximum include the political action committees of many labor unions including the Wisconsin Federation of Teachers. Karla Jurvetson, a wealthy liberal donor from California and Lynde Uihlein, a Schlitz heir and philanthropist from Milwaukee, each gave Westlund the maximum $2,000.
Read the full story from the Badger Project here.