Money and Wisconsin Elections in 2016

July 6, 2017

All numbers are for the calendar year unless indicated otherwise.

Legislative Candidates and Elections

Number of legislative seats up for election in the 2016 general election: 115.

Number of candidates running for legislature on the primary ballot in the 2016 general election: 230. 2014 general election: 247. In 2012: 298. In 2010: 312.

Percentage decline in number of candidates running for legislature since 2010: -26.3%.

Number of legislative seats contested by candidates from both major parties in November 2016: 58 out of 115 . In November 2014: 61 out of 116 . In November 2012: 82 out of 115. In November 2010: 83 out of 116.

Number of candidates with no ballot opposition from any party in November 2016: 50. In November 2014: 49. In November 2012: 26. In November 2010: 25.

First election using gerrymandered districts drawn by the Republican controlled legislature: 2012.

Number of Democrats with no ballot opposition from any party in November 2016: 29. Republicans 21.

Number of incumbents running for reelection in 2016: 102. Democrats: 39. Republicans: 63.

Number of incumbents challenged in the 2016 primaries: 8. Democrats: 8. Republicans: 0.

Ballot Box

Number of incumbents who lost in the primaries: 0.

Number of incumbents who lost in 2016: 2. Democrats: 2. Republicans: 0.

General election voter turnout in 2016: 67.3%. In 2014: 54.8%. In 2012: 70.1%. In 2010: 49.7%.

Party representation in the Assembly after the 2016 fall election: Democrats 35. Republicans: 64.

Democratic share of the vote for the Assembly in 2016: 45.8%. Republican share: 60.0%

Votes for Assembly candidates in 2016: Democrats: 1,175,779. Republicans: 1,333,351. Third-Party and Independents: 56,664.

Votes for Assembly candidates in 2014: Democrats: 883,470. Republicans: 1,170,284. Third-Party and Independents: 23,187.

Votes for Assembly candidates in 2012: Democrats: 1,417,359. Republicans: 1,250,190. Third-Party and Independents: 28,099.

Votes for Assembly candidates in 2010: Democrats: 838,217. Republicans: 1,134,790. Third-Party and Independents: 56,309.

In the Senate: Democrats 13: Republicans 20.

Combined* Democratic share of the vote for the Senate in 2014 and 2016: 47.6%. Republican: 51.5%.

Vote for Senate candidates in 2016: Democrats: 639,545. Republicans: 618,589. Third-Party and Independents: 2,093.

Vote for Senate candidates in 2014: Democrats: 509,886. Republicans: 623,358. Third-Party and Independents: 20,020.

Vote for Senate candidates in 2012: Democrats: 696,320. Republicans: 593,893. Third-Party and Independents: 13,118.

Vote for Senate candidates in 2010: Democrats: 430,068. Republicans: 627,160. Third-Party and Independents: 2,071.

Number of competitive** seats in the the 2016 election: 8. In 2014: 11. In 2012: 17. In 2010: 24.

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*Only half of the Senate is up for reelection in any given election year.
**Vote spread of ten percentage points.

Money in Legislative Elections

Election year income for all 230 candidates in the 2016 election from all sources: $13.7 million. For 247 candidates in 2014: $10.1 million.

Amount of 2016 income from individuals: $6.7 million. From PACs, parties and candidate committees: $7 million.

Amount of 2014 income from individuals: $8.4 million. From PACS, parties and candidate committees: $1.7 million.

Percentage change in candidate total income from 2014 to 2016: +35.5%.

Percentage change in income from individuals between 2014 and 2016: -20.2%.

Ballot box and cash

Percentage change in income from PAC, parties and candidate committees between 2014 and 2016: +303.7%.

Year that new Republican written campaign finance laws doubling contribution limits and loosening reporting requirements went into effect: 2016.

Party share of income in 2016: Democrats: $6.7 million. Republicans: $7 million. Third-Party and Independents: $43,000.

In 2014: Democrats: $3.8 million. Republicans: $6.3 million. Third parties and independents: $21,000.

Total candidate spending* in 2016: $13.5 million. In 2014: $8 million.

Percentage change in candidate spending from 2014 to 2016: +67.2%.

Spending in 2016 by Democrats: $6.7 million. Republicans: $6.8 million.

Spending in 2014 by Democrats: $3 million. Republicans: $5 million.

Special interest spending on legislative races in the form of "independent expenditures" and "issue ads" in 2016: $9 million. In 2014: $4.9 million.

Percentage change in such spending:: +83.7%.

Reported amount on independent expenditures: $4.4 million. In 2014: $1.9 million.

Estimated issue ad spending in 2016: $4.6 million. In 2014: $3 million.

Highest spending special interest group in 2016 legislative races: Greater Wisconsin Committee, $2.1 million.

Highest in 2014: Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, $1.5 million.

Race with the most spending in 2016: 18th Senate District, $5.1 million.

Amount spent by candidates in the 18th Senate District: $1.1 million.

Highest spending legislative race in 2014: 17th Senate District: $2.9 million.

Amount spent by the candidates in the 17th Senate District: $700,000.

Assembly race with the most spending in 2016: 51st Assembly District, $1.4 million.

Amount spent by candidates in the 51st Assembly District: $846,000.

Assembly race with the most spending in 2014: 70th Assembly District, $376,000.

Amount spent by candidates in the 70th Assembly District: $216,000.

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*Spending includes committee to committee transfers.

Supreme Court

Total income* for the three Supreme Court candidates in 2016: $1.5 million.

Total income for the two Supreme Court candidates in 2015: $832,000.

Total income for the three Supreme Court candidates in 2013: $1 million.

Gavel and cash

Total income for the four Supreme Court candidates in 2011: $1.4 million.

Amount of candidates' 2011 income from Democracy Trust Fund: $900,000.

Amount from Democracy Trust Fund** since 2011: $0.

Supreme Court candidate spending in 2016: $2.1 million. 2015: $1.15 million. 2013: $1.08 million. 2011: $1.45 million.

Special interest spending in 2016: $3.1 million. 2015: $170,000. 2013: $1.2 million. 2011: $4.5 million.

Amount of that in the form of disclosed independent expenditures in 2016 Supreme Court race: $224,000. In 2015: $2,200. In 2013: $351,000. 2011: $215,000.

Estimated amount from undisclosed "issue ads" in 2016: $2.9 million. In 2015: $168,000. In 2013: $850,000. 2011: $4.3 million.

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*Income and spending refers to first six months of elections years. Supreme Court elections are held in April.
**Repealed in 2011 by the Republican controlled legislature and the governor.