Kaul’s campaign kickoff

By: - July 12, 2021 2:21 pm
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul speaking

Attorney General Josh Kaul (photo by Susan Ruggles CC BY 2.0)

It was hardly a secret to insiders that Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, is planning to run for re-election in 2022. Before he made it official on Saturday with an announcement via Twitter, he was fundraising and putting together campaign staff. 

His smallish, private kickoff for his campaign at Warner Park on Saturday was invite-only — and no press were on the guest list — drawing jeers from one of his GOP opponents teams that claimed he wanted to avoid talking to press. 

But Kaul has spent his term thus far (beginning in Jan. 2019), regularly answering questions from the press and has not dodged controversy, be it the protests in Kenosha, fighting against Donald Trump and others looking to overturn the Wisconsin presidential election results or the opioid settlement he and other AGs won, while his predecessor declined to be a part of the prosecution of Purdue Pharmaceuticals. Earlier this month, a $4.3 billion settlement against the maker of Oxycontin was reached, of which Wisconsin is poised to receive $65 million. Kaul has also pushed for stricter gun laws and against voting restrictions, as well as supporting the Affordable Care Act. 

“I’m proud of my record of protecting public safety, public health, the environment, and our rights,” Kaul tweeted. “And we need to continue to have an AG who will fight for all Wisconsinites, rather than one who caters to special interests.”


Kaul has two declared election opponents on the Republican side. One is UW-Madison law professor Ryan Owens and the other is Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney. The two GOP candidates will face each other in an August 2022 primary.

Owens announced Monday that he has raised $304,000 — which he called a “record-breaking fundraising quarter,” additionally noting he did it in just 81 days since he launched his run for AG. He compared his donation prowess to the two previous GOP attorneys general, Brad Schimel who raised $298,035 in the first six months of 2017 and J.B. Van Hollen who raised $160,000 to start off his 2009 and 2013 campaigns. “Moreover, Owens did it in less than half the time,” his campaign boasts.

Financial disclosure statements in the race are due on Thursday and neither Kaul or Toney have yet made theirs public. 

Kaul’s tweet announcing his run links to his campaign website, which says it is looking for volunteers, but the content appears to be from his last election. One volunteer job could be to cut the statement from his page that reads, “We need new leadership in the Attorney General’s Office.”


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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.