MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A testy race between the Republicans seeking to knock off Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul went to voters Tuesday, with Eric Tony and Adam Jarchow locked in a close race as results trickled in late.
The pair were the leading candidates in a race that hasn't drawn as much attention as Wisconsin's governor and Senate races, but carries big stakes. Unseating Kaul would put the GOP in position to sink his lawsuit against the state's abortion ban or investigate former President Donald Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
Jarchow, who represented Polk County in the Assembly from 2015 to 2019, has carved out the more conservative persona. Since leaving the Legislature, he's started an online news hub for conservatives, criticized transgender athletes and blamed Democrats including President Joe Biden and Gov. Tony Evers for rising inflation.
He tweeted support in March for Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two people and wounded a third during a police brutality protest in Kenosha in 2020. A jury found Rittenhouse acted in self-defense last year.
Toney, the Fond du Lac County prosecutor, has played up his courtroom experience while noting that Jarchow has never tried a criminal case. Toney's campaign was likely hurt when he charged several people with violating Evers' stay-at-home order in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conservatives and others who saw Evers' order as an affront to freedom, and Toney's rivals attacked him on the issue. He later dropped the charges.
Toney moved aggressively on election fraud charges in February against five people accused of illegally using post office boxes as their voter registration address.
Jarchow had raised nearly five times as much money as Toney by midsummer.
Also in the GOP field was Chippewa Falls attorney Karen Mueller. Mueller sued in 2020 to decertify Biden's victory in Wisconsin and has said she would use the attorney general's office to investigate allegations that hospitals murdered COVID-19 patients.