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Trump at NRA

The National Rifle Association spent more than $1 million in Wisconsin on 2018 elections, most of it benefiting Gov. Scott Walker’s failed re-election bid.

A review by the nonprofit Wisconsin Democracy Campaign shows the pro-gun group poured $940,000 into trying to re-elect Walker, bringing the organization’s total spending on Walker since 1998 to $4.4 million.

The group in 2018 put $800,000 into TV ads opposing Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers, calling him “dangerous” for supporting background checks for gun buyers.

Walker, who in 2014 received an “A plus” rating from the NRA for his positions on gun issues, has a history of endorsing legislation backed by the group. He signed into law a measure legalizing the carrying of concealed weapons and also instituted the so-called “castle doctrine,” which gave homeowners more legal protections if they shoot an intruder.

In total, the NRA between 1998 and 2018 has spent more than $5.5 million in Wisconsin backing conservative and Republican candidates, most of it going toward TV and radio ads and mailings.

Earlier in 2018, the group put $44,200 behind mailings backing conservative Supreme Court candidate Michael Screnock, who lost to liberal-backed candidate Rebecca Dallet.

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The NRA in October put money behind mailings to benefit Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel, who lost his re-election bid to Democrat Josh Kaul, who called for “reasonable” gun measures such as universal background checks, restricting 3-D printed guns and allowing people at risk of violence to be temporarily disarmed.

Schimel opposed gun-free zones in schools and has suggested arming teachers, a measure Walker opposed.

Schimel in 2018 also presided over the Office of School Safety, which was created by the Republican-controlled Legislature after a February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. The office distributed $100 million to schools across the state for baseline security improvements.

The NRA endorsed the school safety package.

Democrats at the time argued lawmakers should do more to address gun violence, such as implementing universal background checks.

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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Capitol reporter

Riley Vetterkind covers politics and state government for the Wisconsin State Journal. He can be reached at (608) 252-6135 or rvetterkind@madison.com.