The fundraising chase in the campaign for governor produced two clear trends in July: Kelda Roys outpaced her Democratic opponents and Gov. Scott Walker outpaced the entire Democratic field.
Roys raised more, spent more, and had more cash on hand at the end of July than any other Democratic candidate for governor.
Walker raised more, spent more, and had more cash on hand than all eight Democrats combined.
The differences were far less pronounced between individual Democrats. Roys, a former Madison state representative, had $291,551 cash on hand at the end of July, meaning that's how much she had in the bank headed into the final two weeks of the campaign. Madison firefighter Mitchell was the only other Democrat who came close with $241,138 cash on hand.
Roys and Mitchell also raised more than the rest of the Democratic field in July. Roys, who has loaned her own campaign more than $350,000 since getting into the race, did not loan herself any money in July. Most of the $147,359 she raised last month came from individuals.
Mitchell, meanwhile, continued to rely on contributions from unions. For example, the Washington, D.C.-based Engineers Political Education Committee gave Mitchell $66,000.
July was also the first month when the Democrats running for governor started running television ads, which is why their spending picked up in earnest.
Milwaukee attorney Matt Flynn was the first on the air, followed by Roys, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, and Mitchell. Madison Mayor Paul Soglin started running TV ads in August after the last reporting period closed.
Roys far outpaced her opponents, spending $523,570 in July, followed by Flynn who spent $280,453. At the other end of the spectrum, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout of Alma reported spending nothing at all.
But as has been the case in previous fundraising reports, nobody came close to Walker's fundraising haul. Walker had $4.9 million cash on hand, raised $670,061 and spent $1.73 million in July. All three figures were higher than the entire Democratic field combined.
That said, it was far from a record-setting pace for Walker.
During the same fundraising period in 2014, Walker raised $1.2 million, or almost twice what he raised last month. He also had $7.18 million cash on hand in 2014, or $2.3 million more than in 2018.
But circumstances are different now than they were then. Walker was already in the midst of an ad war with Democrat Mary Burke in 2014, and he was already widely viewed as a possible candidate for president.
At the same time, it's easier for candidates to collect bigger donations in 2018 than it was in 2014 because the Legislature increased contribution limits from $10,000 to $20,000 in 2015.
This was the final round of campaign finance reports to come out before the Aug. 14 primary. The next reporting deadline is Sept. 25.