Spring Election 040522 02-04052022165900 (copy)

More than $700 million could be spent on the statewide, congressional and legislative races that will come to a head in Wisconsin’s midterm elections this year.

More than $700 million could be spent on the statewide, congressional and legislative races that will come to a head in Wisconsin’s midterm elections this year.

That’s according to the chairs of the Republican Party of Wisconsin and Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Paul Farrow and Ben Wikler, who spoke at a WisPolitics.com event Thursday in Madison.

“It's probably gonna be around $700 million (or more),” Farrow said in response to a question about spending this election cycle.

Wikler, who said he hadn’t crunched the numbers himself, said he doesn’t “think that number is outside the realm of possibility.”

Another point of agreement between Farrow and Wikler was that Milwaukee hosting the Republican National Convention in 2024 would be good for the state.

Farrow was bullish on the city's chances, saying Milwaukee has a “well over” 50% chance of hosting the convention, citing reservations from officials in Nashville, the other finalist for 2024.

“I think in the long run, everybody realized this is going to be an economic boon for the state and especially for the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County,” Farrow said. “That's why you saw the mayor and the county executive … supporting the process from the beginning.”

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson and County Executive David Crowley, both Democrats, have supported efforts to bring the RNC to Milwaukee in 2024.

Wikler also agreed, adding that “what's exciting is the level of alignment to making sure we bring those dollars to Milwaukee, we bring those dollars to Wisconsin.”

“This convention offers an opportunity to lift folks up across all the communities that make up Milwaukee,” Wikler said. “And that's the exciting thing.”

But the two chairs saw eye-to-eye on little else, and they sparred over the Wisconsin Elections Commission (at its state convention two weeks ago, RPW delegates passed a resolution calling for the end of WEC).

“What I need is a governing body that knows their responsibility, enforces the statutes, doesn't let the bureaucracy say, ‘We're going to do whatever we want to do because you guys keep getting together up there,’” Farrow said of WEC. “That's what we need.”

He added that he believes the commission can work “if the bureaucracy underneath follow what (commissioners) said.”

Republicans for weeks have squeezed supporters of the commission, and last week one GOP member of the oversight body resigned because he felt he could no longer represent the party on the board.

“To me, it doesn't matter whether it's someone wearing a Democratic or Republican hat who chairs that commission,” Wikler said. “It's whether that person believes in democracy.”

Wikler added that he was “gravely concerned” about Robert Spindell, one GOP commissioner who posed as a false Trump elector in 2020, wanting to chair WEC. Under commission rules, the chairpersonship switches between a Democrat and a Republican every two years. A June 10 vote could determine the next chair, which will either be Spindell or whoever replaces outgoing commissioner Dean Knudson.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@captimes.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.