UNION GROVE — Hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside spending are looking to aid the opponent of Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.
“I've never had over a million dollars spent on lies against me which is really what’s happening here,” Vos said. “He can’t win on what he wants to do. He can only lie about my record.”
Joel Jacobsen spent $409,320 on television ads within the last week. He says a number of recent donations came as a surprise.
“We couldn’t imagine this race taking this turn,” Jacobsen said. “People have been contributing all along but the jump in finances has been something I didn’t expect.”
This is an election that garners anywhere from 25,000 to 30,000 votes during any given election cycle.
Jacobsen is targeting the work of Vos during the pandemic as the biggest reason he needs to be removed.
“We have a crisis and it continues to grow,” Jacobsen said. “That is COVID. Over 2,000 people are deceased in the state of Wisconsin due to COVID. Hospital capacities are at 85 percent. The problem is not being solved. In fact, we’re going backwards.”
The Wisconsin State Legislature has met just once since the pandemic was declared, with some calling the group the least active State Legislature in the country. With Wisconsin as a hotspot in spiking cases, Vos says he does not feel responsible for the increases.
“The idea that somehow the legislature is to blame for what’s going on with COVID is factually untrue,” Vos said. “We want people to wear masks. We want people to be able to do that but we don’t believe Governor [Tony] Evers should act like a Czar and dictate to rest of the state how to do it without any input or cooperation.”
Vos says the attacks against him are lies.
“Almost every single thing he's putting out is a bold [sic] faced lie,” Vos said. “As opposed to what we’re doing, is exposing his record he wants to hide from because he knows it’s something people in this district clearly won’t support.”
Vos has put out ads claiming Jacobsen supports defunding the police, something Jacobsen denies. However, Vos says the outsider spending Jacobsen is receiving is indicative of what electing him would mean for the 63rd District.
“The people who support him want to defund the police,” Vos said. “Even Joel Jacobsen was at the protest in Kenosha against the police. That’s really sad. It’s a commentary on how far to the extreme left he is. Running in an area that has been Republican for most of past generations, it’s not something people can look at and say he’s moderate or middle of the road. This guy is a far-left radical and this is not what the people of this district want.”
But Jacobsen says change is what he’s hearing people want.
“People are desperate for change,” Jacobsen said. “Looking at leadership, from April 7th and not meeting since that time for any effective legislation, people in the 63rd and the state are looking to make a change because of what’s going on right now is not working.”
Both men were out Monday, canvassing for themselves but in different ways. Despite the pandemic, Vos was going door to door to meet with voters.
“I spend the last day of the campaign going door to door,” Vos said. “It doesn’t matter if I am in a race people consider me safe or in a race people consider to be more competitive, like this year. I like to go out and talk to voters.”
Jacobsen took a more cautious approach in the last full day of campaigning. He has volunteers dropping off pamphlets at homes and he rented a billboard truck to drive around Burlington; Vos’ hometown.