MBS Capitol Insights – May 31, 2024

May 31, 2024 | NewsNewsletter

In this update:

  • ‘Meet the Cabinet’ Recap
  • Election Updates
  • Administration Updates

‘Meet the Cabinet’ Recap

DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski featured guest at MBS luncheon

Michael Best Strategies hosted Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection Secretary Randy Romanski at the Madison Office on Wednesday as a part of our ‘Meet the Cabinet’ series. Sec. Romanski met with clients, answered questions, and spoke about current events within his agency. Sec. Romanski was appointed Wisconsin’s DATCP Secretary in June 2020 and was confirmed in September 2021.

Election Updates

State Assembly and Senate

Non-incumbent election announcement

State Assembly

  • 12th AD: Katrina Blossom Morrison (D-Milwaukee) announced her bid for the 12th AD. She was previously a Wisconsin State Legislature staffer under state Rep. LaKeshia Myers, who currently represents the 12th AD but has announced she is running for the 4th SD. The new 12th AD has a 78.8% Democratic lean.
  • 33rd AD: Andrew Cegielski (R-East Troy) announced he is running for the 33rd AD. He will be challenging Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) who was drawn into the district under the new maps. The new 33rd AD has a 63.8% GOP lean.

* Partisan Performance was calculated using the election results from the 2022 U.S. Senate election, the 2022 Wisconsin Gubernatorial election, and the 2020 Presidential Election.

Trump endorses Brandtjen in GOP primary

Former President Donald Trump endorsed state Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) for her re-election bid in the 24th AD. State Sen. Dan Knodl (R-Germantown) is running against her in the GOP primary for the redrawn district. Trump posted on Truth Social “[Rep. Brandtjen] has consistently defended constitutional freedoms and fought for free and transparent elections in Wisconsin.” In the 2023 special election for the 8th SD, Sen. Knodl and Rep. Brandtjen both ran for the GOP nomination. In that three-way primary, Sen. Knodl outraised Rep. Brandtjen 3-to-1 in the first five weeks of 2023 and subsequently won with 56.8% of the vote. Rep. Brandtjen finished in second with 27.9% of the vote.

Deadline for declaration of non-candidacy has passed

The deadline for incumbents in the state legislature to declare whether they will not run for re-election passed on May 24. All current legislators who have not filed a declaration of non-candidacy are assumed to be running for re-election in November 2024. Altogether, 26 incumbent lawmakers have declared they will not return to their current office for the 2025-26 Legislative Session.

The next key deadline is Monday, June 3 at 5:00 pm, when candidates for state and federal office must submit their paperwork to gain ballot access, including nomination paper signatures. Assembly candidates must each submit at least 200 valid signatures to gain ballot access while state Senate candidates must submit at least 400.

Make sure to check out Michael Best’s 2024 Elections Hub on Tuesday for updated information on the candidates for each state legislative district and competitive congressional districts in Wisconsin.

U.S. President

Cook Political Report releases new poll

Cook Political Report, in collaboration with GS Strategy Group and Benenson Strategy Group (BSG), released a new poll finding President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump tied at 45% among likely voters in Wisconsin. When including independent candidates, they were tied again at 41%, Robert Kennedy Jr. at 9%. Jill Stein and Cornel West were at 1% each. The survey consisted of 503 likely Wisconsin voters and was conducted May 6-13 using text to web and online panel methodologies. The margin of error was +/- 4.4 percentage points. FiveThirtyEight rates GS Strategy Group and BSG 1.5 stars out of 3 stars.

National Polling Average

View 538’s polling data.

View RealClearPolling’s data.

Biden launches new ad

President Joe Biden launched a new TV ad with actor Robert DeNiro saying Donald Trump “was out of control when he was president.” The ad will run on TV, national cable, and digital platforms across battleground states.

Watch the ad here.

U.S. Senate

Hovde releases new ad

GOP U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde launched a new ad to highlight his Wisconsin roots and to combat the narrative of Hovde having out-of-state ties in California. The ad has 15-second and thirty-second versions that will run statewide on broadcast, cable, and digital.

Watch the ad here.

WinSenate launches new ad

WinSenate, a part of the Democratic-supporting group Senate Majority PAC, launched a new TV ad running statewide that says we cannot trust “California multimillionaire Eric Hovde.” The ad claims Mr. Hovde’s bank owns a nursing home being sued for elder abuse and wrongful death. The ad also includes a clip of Mr. Hovde saying “Listen, if you’re in a nursing home, you only have five-six months of life expectancy. Almost nobody in a nursing home is in a point to vote.”

Watch the ad here.

The Fix Washington PAC launches ads targeting Baldwin

The Fix Washington PAC is spending $1.5 million on ads to oppose U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D). Their latest FEC filing shows their newest buy started May 21st, and the ad claims that Sen. Baldwin is a hypocrite. The group was created shortly after GOP U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde announced his bid, and his brother, Steven Hovde, donated $1 million in February.

Watch the ad here.

U.S. House of Representatives

1st CD Race

DCCC adds Barca to its ‘Red to Blue’ program

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced that Democratic candidate for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District Peter Barca has been added to the committee’s ‘Red to Blue’ program, a sign it intends to invest resources to help Mr. Barca defeat GOP incumbent Rep. Bryan Steil. According to DCCC’s website, “Red to Blue is a highly competitive and battle-tested DCCC program that arms top-tier candidates with organizational and fundraising support to help them continue building winning campaigns. Additionally, through Red to Blue the DCCC provides strategic guidance, staff resources, candidate trainings, and more.”

Mr. Barca has held a variety of elected and appointed offices within government. Most recently, he stepped down as secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue after serving in the post for five years. He also served several terms in the state Assembly, including as majority caucus chair and minority caucus chair. Mr. Barca also served a shortened term in the US House of Representatives after winning a special election in 1993. However, he subsequently lost the regular 1994 election 17 months later. Following his loss, President Clinton appointed Mr. Barca to serve as Midwest Regional Administrator to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Wisconsin’s 1st CD is a lean-Republican district. In 2022, Rep. Steil won re-election with 54% of the total vote. Meanwhile, in the same election, GOP candidate for governor Tim Michels narrowly edged out Gov. Evers by 0.2% while incumbent U.S. Senator Ron Johnson defeated his Democratic opponent Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes by receiving 52% of the total vote. Republicans also won the district in 2020 when former President Trump received 50.3% of the vote.

For a full list of 1st CD candidates, check out Michael Best’s Elections Hub.

3rd CD Race

Trump endorses Van Orden

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Congressman Derrick Van Orden (R-Prairie du Chien) for his 3rd Congressional District re-election bid. U.S. Rep. Van Orden said, “I am honored to stand with and have the support of President Donald J. Trump as I seek to continue serving the people of Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District in the halls of Congress. President Trump and I share the same vision of fixing the damage caused by Joe Biden and getting America back on track. I look forward to working with the President to ensure Republican victories this fall and pass legislation that will help Wisconsin families prosper.”

Administration Updates

Evers appoints Jared Hoy as Secretary of DOC

Governor Tony Evers (D) appointed Jared Hoy to serve as Secretary of the Department of Corrections (DOC). Sec. Hoy has worked in the agency since 2007 and most recently served as Deputy Secretary. Former Sec. Kevin Carr left the position vacant after retiring in March.

“Jared has served for decades in public service and corrections, including working as deputy secretary, directly in the field as a supervisor, and several other critical roles at the department,” said Gov. Evers. “Jared is well respected by colleagues in corrections, and I am looking forward to him serving and bringing his experience, skills, and dedication to this new role.”

Gov. Evers’ administration still has a vacancy for the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). However, Gov. Evers said this week he hopes to have a new DNR Secretary within a couple of weeks.

UW Regent Atwell to remain on board until successor confirmed

UW Regent Robert Atwell will remain on the Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents beyond the duration of his term to serve until his successor is appointed and confirmed. In an email sent to several UW-System officials, Mr. Atwell said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos recently reminded him that absent a resignation, regents may remain in office “until their successor is appointed and confirmed.” Mr. Atwell further stated he hopes his “temporary continuation as a regent can support good communication between the Legislative Council and the BOR.”

In 2022, the state Supreme Court ruled that political appointees are not required to vacate their posts until the Senate confirms a successor. Mr. Atwell is one of two remaining Republican-appointed UW regents, having first been named to the seat in 2017 by then-Governor Scott Walker. The other is Cris Peterson, whose term expires in May 2025. In response to Mr. Atwell’s decision to stay on the board, Gov. Evers said “I knew Bob Atwell as a person of high personal integrity. Something has changed.” The governor has not yet said when he plans to appoint a replacement for Mr. Atwell.

back to top