As the Aug. 12 primary for Wisconsin attorney general approaches, the three Democrats vying for the party’s nomination tout their backgrounds as why each should be elected.
The three Democrats largely agree on various issues, but each has a different background they are hoping will allow them to advance to the general election.
The Democratic candidates are state Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ and Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. The winner of the Aug. 12 primary will face Brad Schimel, a Republican who is the Waukesha County district attorney, in November.
Richards, the only candidate who is not a district attorney, has experience as a veteran lawmaker and a family practice lawyer, which he said gives him an advantage in the race.
“[I’ve had] a great deal of experience working through a variety of aspects that the attorney general would have to deal with,” Richards said of his background as a legislator.
Happ, meanwhile, said she decided to run because she “care[s] about Wisconsin … the community, the children but mainly the future.”
She noted she is a Democrat who has been re-elected in a Republican county and has been able to work with those in a different party — which she sees as a strength in a general election.
“I have the ability to put partisanship aside to enforce the law and do what is best for the community,” Happ said.
However, Ozanne emphasizes his experience in leading large institutions, stressing Wisconsin needs a strong leader in the office.
Ozanne is the former deputy secretary of the Department of Corrections and now leads the district attorney’s office in Dane County.
“The people of Wisconsin want an Attorney General who is an experienced front-line prosecutor with a deep commitment to working on behalf of all the people of Wisconsin in order to enforce the law, protect and uphold the constitution, and protect our shared values,” Ozanne said in a statement. “That is who I am and that is what I will bring to the Attorney General’s office.”
The winner of the primary will face Brad Schimel, the Waukesha County district attorney. He was elected to that role in 2006 after being assistant district attorney in the county since 1990.
In announcing his candidacy last year, Schimel touted the endorsements of various district attorneys across the state. He also has the endorsement of current Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican who announced he would not run for a third term.
“I’m overwhelmed by the number of law enforcement leaders stepping forward to endorse my pending campaign for attorney general,” Schimel said. “The Department of Justice plays a critical role in partnering with local law enforcement to enhance public safety across the state, and I’m honored by the trust and support law enforcement is placing in me.”
At press time, the Government Accountability Board only listed Richards’ fundraising numbers in the first half of the year. From January 1 to the end of June, Richards raised $190,214.94 and had almost $170,000 cash on hand.
Happ, meanwhile, had roughly $121,000 cash on hand after raising roughly $172,000 from January to the end of June, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.