Candidates have until the end of the day Friday to report fundraising and spending efforts over the last six months of the year to the state Government Accountability Board. The attorney general candidates' campaigns released summaries of their reports to reporters ahead of filing.
Schimel, Waukesha County's Republican district attorney, reported raising $176,953 with $172,000 on hand at the end of the year. Schimel is the only Republican in the race so far; incumbent Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has decided not to seek a third term.
Three candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination. State Rep. Jon Richards of Milwaukee raised $64,191 and had $92,370 on hand. Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne reported raising $44,566, including $20,000 he loaned to his campaign, and had $50,930 on hand. Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ hasn't reported any campaign finance activity since 2011. She didn't form her attorney general campaign committee until late in January, after the reporting period had ended. That means she doesn't have to file any reports until July.
Schimel campaign consultant Darrin Schmitz released a statement proclaiming that Schimel had a nearly 2-to-1 cash on-hand advantage over Richards.
"Brad Schimel's campaign for attorney general has all the momentum," Schmitz said.
Richards campaign treasurer Nancy Nusbaum said in a statement that people are rallying behind Richards, making him the front-runner.
"People from every corner of Wisconsin are joining together in a grassroots movement by contributing whatever they can afford to help tack back the Office of Attorney General," she said.
Ozanne campaign strategist Melissa Mulliken said in a statement that Ozanne expected other candidates would gain an edge because he didn't declare his candidacy until early November and his fundraising was limited to 30 days around the end-of-the year holidays.
Richards and Schimel both entered the race in mid-October, about three weeks ahead of Ozanne.
"We feel very good about where we are," Mulliken said.
Happ's campaign didn't immediately return an email message seeking comment.
The Democrats will face off in an Aug. 12 primary. The general election is set for Nov. 4.