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The Race for the Wisconsin Assembly

All 99 of Wisconsin’s State Assembly seats will be filled during this November’s general election. Republicans are running a narrow campaign this year. They hold 64 seats and are only contesting 69. Democrats only hold 35 seats, but they are running candidates in 91 races.

The graph below shows the status of each race compared to how the district voted in the 2016 presidential election. Democrats are defending two seats in districts that Trump won. These districts (AS-74 & AS-94) are located in historically Democratic rural areas of the state. In fact, neither Democratic incumbent faced a challenger in 2016 even though Trump carried those districts.

Republicans are defending three seats in districts that Clinton won. One Republican narrowly carried the seat in 2016, another Republican won by 14.5%, and the third Republican ran uncontested.

With 84 out of 91 candidates reporting, Democrats raised a total of $2,055,800, with a median of $14,198 per candidate from January 1 to August 31. The 65 reporting Republicans raised $1,868,760, with a median of $19,545.

This small Republican advantage is 2018 fundraising through August in amplified in cash-on-hand numbers. The median Republican running in a contested race entered September with $25,507 in the bank compared to just $7,534 among Democrats.

Still, the story is not all bad for Democrats. Part of their lack of cash in just a reflection of the very wide playing field. Democrats running against entrenched encumbents in rock-red districts were likely to enter September well behind their opponent in available campaign funds. But Democratic fundraising has been better in more closely contested districts. Party candidates entered September with more cash in 6 of the 8 contested Republican districts without an incumbent running.

The graph below shows net cash-in-hand in contested races as of September 1.