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Wisconsin governor’s race: Michels continues to pour millions of his own dollars into campaign

But Democrat Tony Evers has more cash on hand as November's general election approaches

Gov. Tony Evers and Tim Michels
Construction executive Tim Michels, left, and Gov. Tony Evers. The two will face off in the November election for governor. Angela Major/WPR

Republican Tim Michels continues to pour millions of his own dollars into his campaign for governor, although Democratic incumbent Gov. Tony Evers has still spent more than Michels over the course of this year, newly filed campaign finance reports show.

Michels, a construction executive whose family owns Michels Corporation, contributed more than $5 million — or roughly 92% — of the $5.4 million his campaign took in between July 26 and the end of August. His contributions included $1.29 million in personal donations and over $3.7 million in personal loans from Michels to his campaign.

That’s on top of the nearly $11 million Michels gave to his own campaign earlier this year, reports filed by the committee show. In all, the Michels campaign has raised $16.2 million in 2022.

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But Evers, Wisconsin’s governor since 2019, had an early fundraising advantage, and he’s thus far outspent Michels.

Evers spokesman Sam Roecker said voters know how much is at stake in November’s election.

“We really are not taking anything for granted, and so it’s great to have grassroots supporters from across Wisconsin who are standing with the governor,” he said, adding that Michels “has embraced radical positions on issue after issue, including abortion, including public schools.”

Evers, who started 2022 with money in the bank, reported spending about $20 million this year, leaving him with about $6 million in his coffers as of the end of August. Evers’ campaign took in nearly $4.6 million during the latest reporting period, and has raised about $15.7 million since the year began. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has been a major donor, having given more than $6 million to the Evers committee in 2022.

Michels, on the other hand, closed out the reporting period with a smaller cash balance than Evers. The GOP hopeful spent about $15 million total in 2022 and ended August with about $1.2 million leftover.

In a statement, Patrick McNulty, Michels’ campaign manager, accused Evers of being busy cashing “checks from out of state donors who support soft on crime prison policies.”