Wisconsin Democrats raised record-high $10M over 3 months

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Democratic Party said Tuesday that it raised more money from April to June than in any other three-month period in state party's history, bolstering its bank account in this hotly contested presidential battleground state.

Democrats raised $10 million during the second quarter of the year, leaving them with $12 million cash on hand with the November election just five months away, party spokeswoman Courtney Beyer said.

President Donald Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016, and the state remains a focus for both his and Democrat Joe Biden 's campaigns this year. Recent polls have shown Biden with a lead, but polls four years ago also showed Democrat Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump at this point.

In addition to trying to win the state for Biden, Wisconsin Democrats are also working to prevent Republicans from winning three seats in the state Senate and three in the Assembly to gain veto-proof majorities. If Republicans do that, they would take away the power of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to veto bills they pass, including the legislative and congressional district maps that must be redrawn next year following the census.

Evers has made the fight to prevent Republicans from winning the six seats a focus of the fundraising effort this year, with a “Save the Veto” campaign.

A spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Republican Party did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the Democratic fundraising totals, which parties and candidates had to report by Wednesday.

Wisconsin is at the center of the presidential race this year and the looming fight over redistricting.

The state is one of a dozen targeted by the national Republican State Leadership Committee where it hopes to strengthen Republican redistricting power or dent that of Democrats. Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, of Janesville, along with former House speakers John Boehner and Newt Gingrich are advising that effort. Reince Priebus, the former Wisconsin Republican Party director who went on to lead the national party and serve as Trump’s first chief of staff, is on the committee's board of directors.

And former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who signed into law the GOP-drawn maps passed in 2011, is now working for the National Republican Redistricting Trust.

Democrats are also working nationally on redistricting, with former President Barack Obama and his former attorney general, Eric Holder, raising millions nationwide through a new Democratic group focused solely on state redistricting. Various Democratic-aligned interest groups also have begun pouring money into state legislative contests.

Evers, Democrats in the Legislature and liberals have pushed for a nonpartisan redistricting process in Wisconsin, only to be rebuffed by Republicans. Evers last week called for applications to serve on a nonpartisan redistricting commission he created, but the maps it draws are advisory only and the Legislature does not have to consider them when passing their plan.

Democrats fought the GOP-drawn maps in court from 2011 all the way until last year. Under those maps, Republicans have maintained majorities in the state Senate and Assembly and hold five of the state’s eight congressional districts.