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One of the eight Democratic gubernatorial candidates said Tuesday she has raised more than $800,000 so far and has about $650,000 in the bank heading into the primary campaign’s home stretch.

Former Rep. Kelda Roys of Madison is the first major party gubernatorial candidate to announce fundraising numbers for the period that ended June 30, setting a benchmark by which to measure other campaign fundraising totals.

All candidates competing in the Aug. 14 primary and Nov. 6 general election must report on their fundraising activity for the first six months of the year by Monday.

Fundraising prowess doesn’t necessarily translate to electoral victory, but the midyear campaign finance reports mark another in a series of organizational tests for the still mostly unknown field of candidates that could signal who is best positioned to advertise on TV and radio in the final weeks of the campaign.

The significance of Roys’ fundraising figures are difficult to gauge without more information from the other campaigns, none of which offered to release figures early.

The $650,000 Roys raised in the first half of this year (on top of $150,000 she had by the end of last year) eclipses all of the individual Democratic fundraising amounts in 2017 — the most was $555,265 including self-funding (altogether they raised $2.6 million). But it falls far short of the $7.2 million Gov. Scott Walker raised last year.

In 2014, Democratic nominee Mary Burke, facing only token opposition, had raised $3.6 million by July and Walker had raised nearly $8.3 million.

Roys’ campaign shared the fundraising totals with the Wisconsin State Journal but declined to provide the document she must file with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission and wouldn’t say how much she has contributed or loaned to her own campaign.


Matthew DeFour covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.