Investigations

Republican Quinn outraising Democrat Westlund in NW Wisconsin Senate seat vital to control of state government

If Republicans flip the seat, they would have a 2/3 majority in the state Senate, bringing them one step closer to overriding a Democratic governor’s veto.

From left, Democrat Kelly Westlund, a small business owner from Ashland, and former state Rep. Romaine Quinn, a Republican from Cameron, are running for the retiring Democrat Janet Bewley’s state Senate seat.

By Peter Cameron, THE BADGER PROJECT

In the struggle for the retiring state Sen. Janet Bewley’s seat in northwestern Wisconsin, former state Assembly representative Romaine Quinn, a Republican, has outraised Democratic candidate Kelly Westlund by about $140,000, according to the Follow the Money database, which collects campaign finance data reported to the state of Wisconsin.

Quinn has raised about $380,000 compared to Westlund’s $240,000.

Both candidates for the 25th State Senate District seat can and likely will raise more money in the remaining days before the election.

Quinn received two $60,000 donations from the state Republican party on Oct. 28 and Nov. 1 to give him cash for the final few days.

Democrats are likely to respond, but Westlund had not reported to the state any last-minute cash infusions as of Friday.

Republicans hope to flip the seat in their quest to secure a veto-proof majority over the governor in the state legislature. The party needs ⅔ of seats in both houses to do so. The GOP is close right now, needing to flip five seats in the state Assembly and just one in the state Senate.

A state senator makes a salary of about $55,000 per year and receives a per diem payment of $155. State legislators are only in session a small amount of the year.

Quinn, who lives in Cameron, was elected to the state Assembly in 2014, and won three 2-year terms before leaving in 2020. Westlund is a small-business owner who lives in Ashland.

Individuals and political action committees can give a maximum of $2,000 to a candidate for state Senate. But political parties can accept an unlimited amount of campaign cash, and can donate an unlimited amount to candidates, due to a loophole in state campaign finance law.

The Wisconsin Republican Party has given Quinn more than $125,000. The state Democratic party has given Westlund more than $40,000.

Prominent donors to Quinn who gave him the maximum include the Tavern League of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. The political action committees of Alliant Energy, the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe, Koch Industries and Walmart have all given him $1,000.

Alisa Von Hagel, a political science professor at the UW-Superior, noted that Quinn’s fundraising has been helped by the fact that he held office in the state Assembly from 2015-2020.

“During this time, he had ample opportunity to build relationships with legislative colleagues, those in Republican party leadership, and donors in the surrounding community,” she said. “For example, many of his Republican legislative colleagues can be found in his donor list for this election cycle. This time in office allows him to take advantage of previously formed relationships, aiding his overall fundraising efforts.”

Prominent donors to Westlund who gave the maximum include the political action committees of many labor unions including the Wisconsin Federation of Teachers. Karla Jurvetson, a wealthy liberal donor from California and Lynde Uihlein, a Schlitz heir and philanthropist from Milwaukee, each gave Westlund the maximum $2,000.

Regarding Westlund lagging behind in fundraising, Von Hagel noted that the party of the president usually takes a hit – both at the national level, and within states.

The top 100 donors to Romaine Quinn, Republican

CONTRIBUTORCITYSTATEOCCUPATIONTOTAL
CMTE TO ELECT A REPUBLICAN SENATE OF WISCONSINMADISONWI$67,000
WISCONSIN REPUBLICAN PARTYMADISONWI$59,794
DOUGLAS COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTYSUPERIORWI$20,000
BARRON COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTYBARRONWI$5,000
BARRON COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTYRICE LAKEWI$5,000
PRICE COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTYPARK FALLSWI$2,250
SAWYER COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTYHAYWARDWI$2,075
WISCONSIN REALTORS ASSOCIATIONMADISONWI$2,000
WISCONSIN ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATIONMADISONWI$2,000
WISCONSIN FARM BUREAUMADISONWI$2,000
WISCONSIN BEER DISTRIBUTORS ASSOCIATIONMADISONWI$2,000
TAVERN LEAGUE OF WISCONSINMIDDLETONWI$2,000
OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL 139PEWAUKEEWI$2,000
ASSOCIATED BUILDERS & CONTRACTORS OF WISCONSINMADISONWI$2,000
DEVIN LEMAHIEU CAMPAIGN CMTEOOSTBURGWI$2,000
CITIZENS FOR TIFFANYMERRILLWI$2,000
RENNES, TIMPESHTIGOWILONG TERM CARE-OWNER$2,000
ROSAND, CRAIGSUPERIORWIRETIRED$2,000
JOHNSON SR, MARK ORICE LAKEWIRETIRED$2,000
KOSER, THOMASRICE LAKEWICOMMUNICATIONS BUSINESS OWNER$2,000
ANDRE JACQUE CAMPAIGN CMTEDE PEREWI$2,000
TAXPAYERS FOR MARKLEINSPRING GREENWI$2,000
CMTE TO ELECT JOAN BALLWEGMARKESANWI$2,000
JOHNSON, MARK JRRICE LAKEWIMANUFACTURER$2,000
KOSER, DIANERICE LAKEWIHOMEMAKER$2,000
FONEPACMADISONWI$2,000
HOFFMAN, MARKBLACK RIVER FALLSWICONSTRUCTION COMPANY OWNER$2,000
RAMIREZ, GUSHARTLANDWIRETIRED$2,000
JOHNSON, RACHELRICE LAKEWIHOMEMAKER$2,000
JOHNSON, BARBARA BRICE LAKEWIRETIRED$2,000
MITCHELL, GEORGEFOUNTAIN HILLSAZCONSULTANT$2,000
ROB STAFSHOLT CAMPAIGN CMTENEW RICHMONDWI$2,000
MITCHELL, SUSANFOUNTAIN HILLSAZCONSULTANT$2,000
MARY CZAJA FELZKOWSKI CAMPAIGN CMTEMECHANICSBURGPA$2,000
RAMIREZ, AUSTINWAUKESHAWICEO$2,000
SALZWEDEL, PAULMARKESANWITAVERN OWNER$2,000
ARMSTRONG FOR STATE ASSEMBLYRICE LAKEWI$2,000
MLEJNEK, CHRISRICE LAKEWICONTRACTOR$2,000
HAINZ, DAVIDCHILIWICUSTODIAN$2,000
GEHL, MICHAELMILWAUKEEWISELF EMPLOYED$2,000
BURROW, MATTWEST BENDWICEO CATALYST CONSTRUCTION$2,000
WURTZ, ROBERTGATLINBURGTNRETIRED$2,000
NORTHWESTERN WISCONSIN REALTORSEAU CLAIREWI$2,000
QUINN, ROMAINE ROBERTCAMERONWI$1,896
HUMPHREY, LORINHILLSDALEWIEVENT VENUE OWNER$1,875
MELTON, SCOTT ESOLON SPRINGSWISELF EMPLOYED$1,500
MELTON, BRIANSPOONERWICONSTRUCTION$1,400
HENKEL, CONNIERICE LAKEWIRETIRED$1,250
ALLIANT ENERGYMADISONWI$1,000
BNSF RAILWAY COFORT WORTHTX$1,000
FOREST COUNTY POTAWATOMIMADISONWI$1,000
KOCH INDUSTRIESWICHITAKS$1,000
WALMARTBENTONVILLEAR$1,000
WISCONSIN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATIONMADISONWI$1,000
WISCONSIN HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATIONMADISONWI$1,000
KATHLEEN M BERNIER CAMPAIGN CMTECHIPPEWA FALLSWI$1,000
FRIENDS OF VAN WANGGAARDRACINEWI$1,000
FRIENDS OF WISCONSIN BEAR HUNTERSMADISONWI$1,000
OLSON, STUARTSHELL LAKEWIRETIRED SCIENTIST$1,000
WARMINGTON, GARYHERMANTOWNMNBUSINESS EXECUTIVE$1,000
ZAHRT, MICHAEL RWAUSAUWIREALTOR$1,000
LINDEMANN, JEFFAPPLETONWIBUSINESS EXECUTIVE$1,000
DAN FEYEN CAMPAIGN CMTEFOND DU LACWI$1,000
RICHIE, TOMRICE LAKEWIREAL ESTATE BROKER$1,000
LAPCINSKI, JACKRICE LAKEWICONSTRUCTION COMPANY OWNER$1,000
WAKEFIELD, LORELEIBUTTERNUTWICHIROPRACTOR$1,000
BELL AMBULANCE INC EMPLOYEESMILWAUKEEWI$1,000
INSURING AMERICACHICAGOIL$1,000
BOWE, ANGELAEAU CLAIREWIBUSINESS EXECUTIVE$1,000
STROEBEL, DUANECEDARBURGWISTATE SENATOR$1,000
NEUMANN, MARKOCONOMOWOCWIRETIRED$1,000
RYAN OWENS FOR WISCONSINMIDDLETONWI$1,000
HENKEL, PHILRICE LAKEWIFARMER$1,000
HERRMAN, WALTERBARRONWIFARMER$1,000
NEUMANN, SUEOCONOMOWOCWIRETIRED$1,000
YOUNESZADEH, SAMPALM BEACHFLCHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER$1,000
HERZING, HENRYMILWAUKEEWIPRESIDENT$1,000
MARSH, SUMMER DRICE LAKEWIRETIRED$1,000
MARSH, JAMES MRICE LAKEWIRETIRED$1,000
GREENFIELD, AMYSPOONERWIPHYSICAL THERAPIST$1,000
BOLDUC, PETESARONAWIINSURANCE SALES$1,000
FROLIK, SCOTTCAMERONWICONTRACTOR$1,000
WURZER, STEVEBIRCHWOODWICONTRACTOR$1,000
DAWSON, LAURENSUSSEXWIRETIRED$1,000
DAWSON, BERNADETTERICHFIELDWIHOMEMAKER$1,000
STERN, MICHAELCOLGATEWIELECTRICIAN$1,000
DAWSON, JAMESSUSSEXWIEMERITUS CFO OF LANNON STONE$1,000
DAWSON, HEIDICOLGATEWIDIRECTOR OF SALES$1,000
DAWSON, HANSRICHFIELDWIPRESIDENT OF LANNON STONE PRODUCTS$1,000
LEE, JENNACLAYTONWIREGISTERED NURSE$1,000
BUCHNER, CLINTBIRCHWOODWIHEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATOR$1,000
ELEVANCE HEALTHWASHINGTONDC$1,000
BROST, JOETHORPWIMANAGER/OWNER$1,000
WARD, JOANLAKE GENEVAWITAVERN OWNER$1,000
GIERTZ, CORYCOLFAXWIBUSINESS EXECUTIVE$1,000
KLUM, ADAMREADSTOWNWITRUCK DRIVER$1,000
SCHMIDT, STEVESAXONWIBEAR HUNTER$1,000
REED, JOANPHILLIPSWITAVERN OWNER$1,000
ELLERBRUCH, ROBERTBIRCHWOODWITAVERN OWNER$1,000
HENDRICKS, KIMJANESVILLEWIATTORNEY$1,000

The top 100 donors to Kelly Westlund, Democrat

CONTRIBUTORCITYSTATEOCCUPATIONTOTAL
STATE SENATE DEMOCRATIC CMTE OF WISCONSINMADISONWI$31,312
WISCONSIN DEMOCRATIC PARTYMADISONWI$12,166
BURNETT COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTYSIRENWI$6,615
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS / IBEWWASHINGTONDC$2,000
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS / IBTWASHINGTONDC$2,000
WISCONSIN FEDERATION OF TEACHERSHIGHLANDWI$2,000
WISCONSIN LABORERS DISTRICT COUNCILDEFORESTWI$2,000
WISCONSIN EDUCATION ASSOCIATION COUNCIL REGION 6MADISONWI$2,000
SEIU WISCONSIN STATE COUNCILMADISONWI$2,000
JURVETSON, KARLA TINKLENBERGLOS ALTOSCAPHYSICIAN$2,000
UIHLEIN, LYNDE BMILWAUKEEWIINVESTOR$2,000
COSTERISAN, AUDREYSIRENWINOT EMPLOYED$2,000
BARRON COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL CMTE OF WISCONSINCHETEKWI$2,000
MILLER JR, JOHN WFOX POINTWIPRINCIPAL$2,000
SCHANNING, SJANAIRON RIVERWIECOLOGIST$2,000
WOLNER, DANIELRICE LAKEWIPHYSICIAN-OPTHEMOLOGY$2,000
ELECTRICAL WORKERS LOCAL 14FALL CREEKWI$2,000
HAGGE JR, ROBERT SHAZELHURSTWIHISTORIAN$2,000
PAGE, GLORIALOS ALTOSCANOT EMPLOYED$2,000
BREWSTER, RONALDNEW AUBURNWIRETIRED$2,000
KAVULICH, SUSANMIDDLETONWIRETIRED$2,000
JANET BEWLEY CAMPAIGN CMTEASHLANDWI$2,000
PROGRESSIVE TURNOUT PROJECTEVANSTONIL$2,000
MANDEL, BARRYMILWAUKEEWIREAL ESTATE DEVELOPER$2,000
RYMER, KIMBERLYBAYFIELDWINOT EMPLOYED$2,000
LUBAR, MARIANNE SRIVER HILLSWINOT EMPLOYED$1,925
CHEQUAMEGON DEMOCRATIC PARTYASHLANDWI$1,510
LACY, SARA HLA POINTEWILAWYER$1,500
GRETTENBERGER, SUSANLANSINGMIPROFESSOR$1,250
HAYES, MARYDRUMMONDWINOT EMPLOYED$1,250
CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE KIM BUTLER FOR WIBALSAM LAKEWINOT EMPLOYED$1,250
EMILYS LISTWASHINGTONDC$1,000
SHEET METAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION / SMWIANORTH OLMSTEDOH$1,000
OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL 139PEWAUKEEWI$1,000
DOUGLAS COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL CMTE OF WISCONSINSUPERIORWI$1,000
JON ERPENBACH SENATE CMTEMIDDLETONWI$1,000
BRINTON, DEMARISBAYFIELDWIOWNER$1,000
FLORSHEIM, JOHNMILWAUKEEWIBUSINESS$1,000
PATENAUDE, JEANNEBUTTERNUTWIRETIRED$1,000
ANDERSON, PATRICIACABLEWIRETIRED$1,000
ANDERSON, RONALDCABLEWINOT EMPLOYED$1,000
LUBAR, MADELEINE KELLYMILWAUKEEWINOT EMPLOYED$1,000
REITZ, ANNPORT WINGWIMEDICAL DOCTOR$1,000
AGNE, DANIELRICE LAKEWINOT EMPLOYED$1,000
MCCOMAS, ANNE WPARK FALLSWINOT EMPLOYED$1,000
HORNING, MATTHEWASHLANDWIFAMILY DOCTOR$1,000
MURTHA, THOMASMINNEAPOLISMNWRITER$1,000
ABERT, GRANT DMADISONWINOT EMPLOYED$1,000
HASMAN, ROBERTCUMBERLANDWITEACHER$1,000
ANDERSON, AARONSUPERIORWIOWNER$1,000
STOLL, JOMADISONWIRETIRED$1,000
PAGELS, JULIE DAVIESMASONWIFORESTRY TECHNICIAN$1,000
FUENTES, BRUCE JAMESSOUTH RANGEWINOT EMPLOYED$950
LAFANS, ELLENCABLEWINOT EMPLOYED$850
CHRISTOPHER J LARSON CAMPAIGN CMTEMILWAUKEEWI$750
SHERMAN, GARYPORT WINGWINOT EMPLOYED$750
BETH MEYERS CAMPAIGN CMTEBAYFIELDWI$750
SAARINEN, KARENIRON RIVERWINOT EMPLOYED$750
PETROSKE, AARON ANDERSONSUPERIORWIOWNER$750
VALDEZ, REBECCAASHLANDWINOT EMPLOYED$700
THOMPSON, LINDA ARICE LAKEWIN/A-HOMEMAKER$650
RYDBERG, GEORGEASHLANDWINOT EMPLOYED$641
LEWIS, DEBRAASHLANDWIMAYOR$620
LISI, GERRYRICE LAKEWIRETIRED$600
NEWCOMER, SUZANNECABLEWINOT EMPLOYED$600
WISCONSIN EDUCATION ASSOCIATION COUNCIL REGION 1RICE LAKEWI$600
CAHILL MOCHICAGOILNOT EMPLOYED$577
DEMAIN, PAULHAYWARDWIEDITOR$525
SEBRANEK, PATRICKMADISONWIWRITER$525
HAHN, MARYPHILLIPSWINOT EMPLOYED$525
PAGE, CARLSAN FRANCISCOCARETIRED$500
HOEY, JOSEPHMADISONWILEGISLATIVE AID$500
COSTERISAN, RICHARD LSIRENWIRETIRED$500
LUDWIG, JOHNSUPERIORWIRETIRED$500
DOUGHTY, JANEMADISONWINOT EMPLOYED$500
BELKNAP, MARKASHLANDWICONSULTANT$500
BALDWIN, TAMMY SUZANNE GREENMADISONWISENATOR$500
SMITH, SHIRLEYPHILLIPSWINOT EMPLOYED$500
CHASE, PAULRICE LAKEWINOT EMPLOYED$500
HAMILTON, JONATHANIRON RIVERWIOWNER$500
MCKINNEY, SCOTTCABLEWIREALTOR$500
EHRHARDT, JEFFREYMELLENWIRETIRED$500
NEIDER, JUDYBARNESWINOT EMPLOYED$500
FOWLES, DONIOWA CITYIAPROFESSOR EMERITUS$500
JOHNSON, LATONYA ANNMILWAUKEEWISENATOR$500
ABRAMS, WENDY DAVIDAHIGHLAND PARKILNOT EMPLOYED$500
ELKINS, ROBERTPHILLIPSWIRETIRED$500
HOCHSTEIN, GLORIAEAU CLAIREWIRETIRED$500
TECHTMANN, CATHERINE ANNPENCEWIEDUCATOR$500
SCHANNING, KEVIN FIRON RIVERWIPROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY$500
NELSEN, LANCESUPERIORWIATTORNEY$500
MCKINNEY, STACEYCABLEWIREALTOR$500
PAGE, BARBARAPALO ALTOCAVICE PRESIDENT$500
EDWARDSEN, PATRICIARICE LAKEWINOT EMPLOYED$500
LEE, MONICAASHLANDWIPHYSICIAN$500
EINSPANIER, MARILYN TIRON RIVERWIOWNER CABIN RENTAL BUSINESS$500
KREITLOW, SHARLENECHIPPEWA FALLSWIEDITOR$500
PAINE, JIMSUPERIORWIMAYOR$500
HONG, FRANCESCAMADISONWINOT EMPLOYED$500
MURTHA, THOMASBAYFIELDWIWRITER$500

The Badger Project is a nonpartisan, citizen-supported journalism nonprofit in Wisconsin.

Categories: Investigations

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