The morning after winning a narrow re-election victory, incumbent Attorney General Josh Kaul addressed the media on the steps of the State Capitol and reiterated his priorities for his next term, including “investing in public safety “, “restore access to procreation”. freedom” and “increased shared income”.
On Wednesday afternoon, Kaul was ahead of Republican candidate Eric Toney, the Fond du Lac County prosecutor, by 1.4%, or 34,145 votes. Toney conceded in the early hours of Wednesday.
During the campaign, Toney said that if elected, he would ask the Legislature for the power to step in and prosecute business in Milwaukee; the city’s homicide rate has risen again this year.
Kaul said the best way to fight crime would be to increase revenue sharing so Milwaukee can hire more police to crack down on crime.
Kaul said Wednesday that he and Toney, in a phone call earlier in the morning, pledged to work together on public safety efforts going forward.
Despite obstacles presented by the Republican-dominated Legislature, Kaul said he’s “optimistic” about also working with representatives across the aisle on the abortion issue. He plans to continue moving forward with his lawsuit to overturn Wisconsin’s abortion ban.
“It’s really unusual historically for the president’s party to be as successful as the Democrats in this election in this state,” Kaul said. Governor Tony Evers was also re-elected. “I think that shows voters like the direction we’re taking this state and they want to continue in that direction. Voters care about this issue,” Kaul said of abortion. “I hope we see the Legislative Assembly take action now.”
Abortion was a key issue for Susan Roberts, a Kaul supporter, a nurse of 30 years and a current member of the SEIU Healthcare retiree group.
Roberts, who attended Kaul’s victory party Tuesday night at the Overture Center, said she remembered when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion with Roe vs. Wade in 1973 and is unhappy that it has now been overturned by the High Court with the Dobbs decision. She shared that her mother was a ‘devout Christian’, but always supported the original deer decision. Roberts said no factor, including religion, should stand in the way of a woman and her right to have an abortion — something she also admires for Kaul.
“I’m very pro-women,” Roberts said, “and pro-good people,” referring to Kaul.
Promising not to enforce Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban if re-elected, Kaul told PBS Wisconsin that the use of the 100 Wisconsin Department of Justice investigators and “number” of prosecutors to investigate anyone who violates the 19th century abortion ban is “evil” and diverts essential resources from the “protection of public safety.”
Toney promised to enforce the ban.
The mood at Kaul’s election night was generally cheerful and chatty. NBC’s live national coverage of the election results was projected on a large screen at the front of the room.
Also in attendance was Tim Virnoche, president and former owner of Badger Popcorn and Kaul’s neighbor.
He says he voted for Ron Johnson in 2010, but no longer recognizes the politician 12 years later. For Tim and his wife, Karen, director of marketing and banking at Oak Bank in Fitchburg, Kaul stands in stark contrast to candidates like Johnson, who question the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
“Kaul will pursue common sense enforcement of the law in this state and avoid a trend toward extremism,” Virnoche said.
Tim and Karen said they have spoken honestly about their support for their neighbor with conservative colleagues and friends — people who often obsess over the negative portrayal of Kaul and other Democratic candidates in political ads.
“To see him active with his family, being a decent human being and a good father – he’s a good person,” Tim said of Kaul.