By SCOTT BAUER
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Kelda Roys raised more money and had more cash on hand than any other Democratic candidate for governor in the month leading up to next week’s primary election, even though she trails in recent polls behind state Superintendent Tony Evers.
Campaign finance reports filed with the state this week give a picture of where the candidates stand a week before the primary election scheduled for Aug. 14. The reports cover fundraising for the month of July and are the last released before the election.
Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, raised $670,000 in July, about half of what he brought in over the same month four years ago. His cash on hand of $4.8 million was also behind the $7.1 million he had at this point in 2014, when he was running for re-election.
There was also a Democratic primary in 2014, but the winner, Mary Burke, faced only nominal opposition. This year, with eight candidates competing for attention and fundraising, the field is much more dispersed.
For the year so far, Walker has raised $6.1 million. All eight Democrats combined have raised just short of $3 million.
Roys, a former state representative from Madison, raised the most among Democrats at about $147,000 for the month and had nearly $292,000 worth of cash on hand. Roys has loaned her campaign $350,000.
But she and six other Democrats have been far behind Evers in the two most recent Marquette University Law School polls, which showed him with a double-digit lead. Evers, the only one of the Democratic candidates to have won a statewide election, raised $109,000 in July and had $158,000 worth of cash on hand.
Evers has released two television ads since late July, touting himself as a leader on schooling while criticizing Walker’s record. Evers has aimed both ads at Walker and ignored his Democratic primary opponents.
Walker has run various ads trying to argue that he is a pro-school governor, blunting the argument by Evers and others that he’s been weak on supporting public schools.
Walker scheduled a news conference for Tuesday to criticize the Democratic candidates’ positions on criminal-justice reform.
Mahlon Mitchell, the state firefighter union leader, raised $117,000 in July and had $241,000 worth of cash on hand. Matt Flynn, the former state Democratic Party chairman, raised just shy of $34,000 for the month and had about $157,000 worth of cash on hand.
Flynn has run one TV ad about his opposition to the Foxconn Technology Group project in southeast Wisconsin, a project Walker landed.
Flynn has stayed in the race despite bipartisan calls that he drop out because of his work as attorney for the Milwaukee Archdiocese during a priest-abuse scandal.
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin released his first ad in the race on Saturday, portraying Walker as a puppet controlled by President Donald Trump. Soglin raised $45,000 in July and had $100,000 worth of cash on hand.
The other Democratic candidates are the political activist Mike McCabe; state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout; and corporate attorney Josh Pade. McCabe had $62,000 cash on hand, Vinehout had $26,000 and Pade had $9,000.