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Groups ramping up spending in tight legislative races (UPDATE)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A government-watchdog organization says outside groups are pumping money into a half-dozen legislative races.

According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, outside groups have spent $990,000 on the 1st Senate District race between the Democrat Caleb Frostman and Republican Andre Jacque.

These sorts of groups have spent $928,888 in the 17th Senate District race between the Republican incumbent Howard Marklein and Democrat Kriss Marion. And they’ve spent $532,563 in the race between the Republican incumbent Roger Roth and Democrat Lee Snodgrass in the 19th Senate District.

On the Assembly side, outside groups have spent $170,350 in the race for an open seat in the 14th District; $132,244 in the 51st; $129,492 in the 23rd; and $111,894 in in the 92nd.

The groups include the League of Conservation Voters, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and Americans For Prosperity.

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Elections Commission reported on Wednesday that the early-voting total for the general election next week had set a new record for midterms in Wisconsin, topping the figure seen in 2014. The elections commission reported that nearly 378,000 absentee ballots have been cast so far. That was up from the figure for 2014, when just over 374,000 absentee ballots were cast.

Various candidate surrogates, including President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama, have been in Wisconsin in recent days to call for early voting in the state’s hotly contested races.

Friday is the deadline to register to vote absentee. In-person early voting is available in some parts of the state through the weekend. But anyone who wants to take advantage of that opportunity must register by Friday.

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