By SCOTT BAUER
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Democratic candidate for governor in Wisconsin, Tony Evers, who has reported raising $8 million since his primary win in August, urged college students on Monday to vote early ahead of next week’s election.
Evers, the state superintendent, is locked in a tight election battle with Gov. Scott Walker, who is seeking a third term. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat who has consistently led in the polls, faces the Republican Leah Vukmir, a state senator.
Evers joined University of Wisconsin-Madison students to urge early voting at one of three sites on campus. On Tuesday, he and Baldwin are scheduled to join former Vice President Joe Biden at early-voting rallies at a UW-Madison dining hall and at a Milwaukee union hall.
“I’ve been around a long time, and I’ve seen how every election they say this is a time that young people are going to stand up and take control of the election, and every time afterward it’s like, people didn’t vote the way they should have,” Evers said on Monday. “But this time I think it is different.”
Evers held the event after his campaign said he had raised $6 million between Sept. 1 and Oct. 22, bringing his total since the Aug. 14 primary to roughly $8 million. Neither Walker nor Evers had, by deadline on Monday, filed the campaign reports that were due by the end of the day. But Evers said in a statement he had received more than 48,000 donations in the seven-week period.
Through August, Walker had raised nearly $24 million; Evers had gotten $3 million in the same period.
That fundraising advantage has helped Walker dominate the airwaves. On Monday, Walker released his 33rd television ad of the campaign, in which he touts his record and asks for support.
“Let’s finish what we started and keep Wisconsin working for generations to come,” Walker says, looking into the camera.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s son, Eric Trump, planned three campaign rallies across in Wisconsin with Vukmir and U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy and Glenn Grothman. Those come after the president and Walker and Vukmir held a rally near Wausau, attracting thousands of supporters.
Friday was the deadline to register to vote absentee ahead of Election Day. In-person early voting was allowed in some parts of the state through the weekend, but those voters must have registered by Friday. Voters may also register at the polls on Election Day, but candidates prefer to get them to cast ballots early to secure their vote and to avoid any last-minute troubles that could prevent them from following through.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission reported that, by Monday, 363,322 absentee ballots had been requested and 297,011 had been returned. In 2014, of the 2.42 million cast that year, 374,294 were absentee ballots.
It’s impossible to know whether early voting is favoring Republicans or Democrats in Wisconsin because voters do not register by party in the state. Making a comparison with ballots cast by the same time in 2014 is impossible because election clerks weren’t required to track absentee voting daily until 2016.