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Wisconsin Democrats hope to take Schimel’s offices, others

By TODD RICHMOND, Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Although the contests for the governor’s office and a U.S. Senate seat topped the ballot in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Democrats had high hopes for a handful of other races.

The party hopes to seize a seat now held by the outgoing House Speaker, Paul Ryan, and send former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl’s nephew to Congress. Democrats are also looking to send Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel packing, hold onto the secretary of state’s office and flip the state treasurer’s office after eight years of GOP control.

A look at each of the races:

PAUL RYAN’S SEAT

Democrats believe they finally have a shot at Ryan’s 1st Congressional District seat since his decision against seeking re-election after 20 years in Washington. The party has pinned its hopes on Randy Bryce, an ironworker out of Racine; Republicans have countered with the attorney Bryan Steil, a University of Wisconsin System regent who worked as an aide to Ryan for a year in 2003. Bryce has built a national following, branding himself “Iron Stache,” a play on his occupation and his thick mustache. He generated more than $6 million in contributions by the end of July but has a checkered past. He’s failed to pay child support and has been arrested nine times, including for drunken driving in 1998 and more recently for protesting Republican policies. The district covers Wisconsin’s southeastern corner and includes Janesville, Racine and Kenosha.

6th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

The Democrat Dan Kohl, a nephew of former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, is challenging the two-term Republican incumbent Rep. Glenn Grothman. Grothman serves on the House Budget, Education and the Workforce and Oversight and Government Reform committees. Before his election to Congress, Grothman was in the state Legislature for 22 years, and built a reputation as one of the state Senate’s most conservative members. Kohl worked at his uncle’s business, the Milwaukee Bucks, for 14 years as a scout, salary-cap specialist and assistant general manager. He says improving health care is his top priority and has criticized Grothman for votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Grothman has said he expects the toughest re-election fight of his career in a district that has been held by Republicans for decades.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

the Democrat Josh Kaul is looking to unseat Attorney General Brad Schimel, a Republican. Kaul is the son of the late former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager and served as a federal prosecutor in Baltimore but hasn’t played up his background on the campaign trail, choosing instead to attack Schimel. He says Schimel took too long to test thousands of unanalyzed sexual-assault-evidence kits, allowing testing delays at state crime labs, spending taxpayer money on commemorative coins for local police and failing to get control of the state’s opioid crisis. Schimel has pushed back by calling attention to his work to award safety grants to schools and painting Kaul as an outsider with little prosecutorial experience.

SECRERTARY OF STATE

The Democratic incumbent, Doug La Follette, is seeking his 11th term. Standing in his way is Jay Schroeder, a Republican and mortgage-loan officer from Neenah. Republican lawmakers have stripped the secretary of state’s office of nearly all of its duties over the years. The secretary’s only real responsiblities now are sitting on the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands and issuing international authentication certificates for documents.

TREASURER

The Republican Travis Hartwig of Oak Creek and Democrat Sarah Godlewski of Madison are vying to replace the outgoing state Treasuer, Matt Adamcyzk.

The treasurer has no real tasks except to sit on the Board of Commissioners of Public Land and track unclaimed property. Godlewski wants the office to review state finances and protect senior citizens from financial exploitation. Hartwig wants the office to help with audits of state and local government.

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