Democratic Group Aims to Spend Heavily in Wisconsin Legislative Races

The States Project, a deep-pocketed outside group focused exclusively on state legislatures, is adding the Wisconsin State Assembly to its 2024 plans, a clear sign that Democrats are growing bullish on an opportunity to flip the chamber after the State Supreme Court ordered new maps to be drawn this year.

The organization said that it would include Wisconsin in its eight-figure 2024 budget and spend an additional $1 million there. (The group has not yet completed its 2024 total spending plans.) State legislative races, which play out in smaller districts than contests for Congress do, are often much less expensive than federal races. Large donations in these elections can have a significant impact.

National Democrats have zeroed in on the Wisconsin Legislature. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the state legislative arm of the Democratic National Committee, has already donated $24,000 directly to each chamber of the Legislature, the maximum legally allowed, and it has added Wisconsin to its national $60 million budget. Forward Majority, another outside group focused on state legislatures, plans to spend heavily in the state after spending more than $1 million in 2018.

The deluge of cash and attention into the Wisconsin Legislature presages a possible shift in the state’s politics. Dominated by extreme partisan gerrymanders for more than 13 years, both chambers of the Legislature have remained solidly in Republican control, even as Democrats have won statewide races for governor, Senate and the presidency in multiple elections.

The Republican State Leadership Committee, the arm of the Republican National Committee that focuses on state legislative races and others down the ballot, has not yet released a budget but did include Wisconsin on its initial list of states where it plans to defend majorities. A spokesman for the organization did not respond to requests for comment.

The new maps will make Wisconsin even more of a battleground, with President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump neck and neck in recent polling. But even with the new maps, Democrats acknowledge that flipping the chamber will be an uphill battle.

Back to top button