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Updated: Fact tracking the 2018 candidates for Wisconsin governor

Eight Democrats, down from 10, are running for the nomination to challenge GOP Gov. Scott Walker. Top row (from left): Tony Evers, Paul Soglin, Josh Pade, Kathleen Vinehout. Bottom row: Kelda Helen Roys, Mike McCabe, Mahlon Mitchell, Matt Flynn. Eight Democrats, down from 10, are running for the nomination to challenge GOP Gov. Scott Walker. Top row (from left): Tony Evers, Paul Soglin, Josh Pade, Kathleen Vinehout. Bottom row: Kelda Helen Roys, Mike McCabe, Mahlon Mitchell, Matt Flynn.

Eight Democrats, down from 10, are running for the nomination to challenge GOP Gov. Scott Walker. Top row (from left): Tony Evers, Paul Soglin, Josh Pade, Kathleen Vinehout. Bottom row: Kelda Helen Roys, Mike McCabe, Mahlon Mitchell, Matt Flynn.

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher July 11, 2018

Updated Aug. 21, 2018: Go here to see all of the fact checks on statements by and about Gov. Scott Walker and Tony Evers, his Democratic challenger in the Nov. 6, 2018 general election. Below are the fact checks we did ahead of the Aug. 14, 2018 primary election. 

Consider this your running scorecard on how the 2018 candidates for governor are faring on our Truth-O-Meter.

(And the Flip-O-Meter, which checks a candidate's consistency on an issue.)

Check back often to see the latest ratings for Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the Democrats hoping to get the nomination to run against him. The primary is Aug. 14, 2018 and the general election is Nov. 6, 2018.

Please let us know if you see something we should fact check: [email protected].

The candidates are listed in alphabetical order. The most recent items for each candidate are listed first.

(Candidates who have dropped out are listed at the bottom.)

TONY EVERS State school superintendent, Madison

College: "Since Scott Walker has been our governor, we’ve gone from 50 percent state funding for the" University of Wisconsin System "to 15 percent." False

GOP vs Evers: Says Tony Evers "didn't revoke the license of a teacher caught spreading pornography and commenting on the bodies of middle-school girls." Half True

Polls: "I’m the first Democrat to ever lead Scott Walker in an election year." False

Foxconn: Says Wisconsin ‘could compel’ Foxconn to install solar panels that would power 33,000 homes. Mostly False.

Education: Says that despite a recent increase in school funding, Scott Walker "has taken over a billion dollars from the public schools." Mostly False.

Jobs: "Job creation fell by 70 percent in Wisconsin in 2016" under Scott Walker. Mostly True.

MATT FLYNN Milwaukee lawyer

Priests: State GOP claims that Democratic candidate for governor Matt Flynn "told one child predator to ‘wait and see,’ when he should have turned him in to authorities." Half True.

Priests: Says he was "not part of transferring" any priests accused of sexual abuse. Half True

Foxconn: On whether he would seek to undo the Foxconn deal. Full Flop.

Foxconn: Says Foxconn "is under investigation in mainland China for securities fraud, environmental fraud and labor fraud." Mostly False.

Foxconn: "Foxconn will not face oversight from any federal, state, or local agency to guarantee it complies with our wetlands protection laws." Mostly False.

Wages: Under Scott Walker, "average wages, when adjusted for inflation, are lower today than they were under Jim Doyle." Half True.

MIKE MCCABE Madison activist

Internet: Wisconsin is "49th in the country in internet speed." Half True.

Taxes: "When you look at all the state and local taxes we pay in Wisconsin, the wealthiest 1 percent pay the lowest overall tax rate." Mostly True.

MAHLON MITCHELL State firefighter union president, Fitchburg

Union: Wisconsin Republican Party says Mitchell "received a massive raise on the backs of hard-working firefighters and turned the union into his own personal political slush fund." Half True.

Education: Says Scott Walker "has cut more from public education than he's put back in, obviously. He took $1.6 billion and some change away and then puts back $630 million and he's calling that progress." Mostly False.

Biography: Says he was "instrumental to passing two (recent) pieces of legislation that were a huge victory for firefighters across the state." Mostly False.

Biography: "When @ScottWalker told firefighters we didn’t need to worry about Act 10, we said hell no, we stand with working Wisconsinites everywhere." Mostly False.

Middle class: Wisconsin has "the fastest-shrinking middle class in the country." Mostly False.

JOSH PADE Kenosha lawyer

Taxes: "Wisconsin's still one of the highest-taxed states in the country." Mostly False

KELDA ROYS Former state representative, Madison

Environment: Says "political interference" from Scott Walker’s administration has led to "gagging (DNR) scientists so they can no longer comment on proposed legislation" and "we’re letting polluters write their own permits." Mostly False

Abortion: "In Wisconsin, abortion is still a crime." Mostly False.

Jobs: Wisconsin lost "almost 4,000 manufacturing jobs in 2017." False

Education: "There are a lot of private charters. And in fact, (Tony Evers) sought and received the largest charter school grant in the country from the Trump-DeVos administration to start new charter schools in Wisconsin." Half True

Roads: Says that under Scott Walker, on a percentage basis, Wisconsin is "spending twice as much on debt service for just basic road repair and maintenance" than before he took office. Mostly True.

Flip-O-Meter: On participating in a debate for Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Roys initially committed to attend, then withdrew her commitment. (The debate was later canceled). Full Flop.

Spending: In 2011 under Scott Walker, Wisconsin for the first time spent "more on our prison system than we did" on the University of Wisconsin System. Mostly True.

Taxes: "Under Trump’s new tax plan … 99.8% of Americans" get "not one nickel" in tax cuts.  Pants on Fire.

PAUL SOGLIN Madison mayor

Guns: "If there is a firearm available, it is 17 times more likely to be used either for suicide or for assaulting a friend, relative, an acquaintance than it is to be used in fending off an intruder." Half True.

Jobs: Since he and Scott Walker took office in 2011, "60,000 new jobs have been created in this state -- 40,000 of them were created in Madison and the Madison area." False.

KATHLEEN VINEHOUT State senator, Alma

Prisons: Says Wisconsin "doesn't even give" released prison inmates "a bus ticket to get home." Mostly False.

Jobs: Under Scott Walker, Wisconsin is "still 16,000 manufacturing jobs lower than we were during the recession." Mostly True.

SCOTT WALKER Governor since 2011

Prisons: "A number of Democrats running for governor want to cut the prison population by 50%" and "that would require the release of thousands of violent felons." Half True.

Education: Says he made "a record investment in schools." Mostly False

Education: "By law, Democrats gave the superintendent of public instruction, back in 2009, the ability to take over failing schools … The current superintendent has failed to do that." False

Taxes: "Property and income taxes will be lower in 2018 than they were in 2010." Mostly True.

Employment: "Our bold reforms have Wisconsin’s unemployment rate down to an all-time LOW of 2.9 percent, and the number of people working at an all-time HIGH!" Half True.

Transportation: "We invested" in our transportation system "$24 billion over eight years. That’s $3 billion more than what former Governor Jim Doyle spent on transportation over the same period of time." Mostly False.

Madison: Says Paul Soglin took Madison backward -- "businesses have left and murders have gone up." Mostly False.

Foxconn: Says Foxconn didn't keep a promise to build a plant in Pennsylvania because "Pennsylvania changed governors." Mostly False.

Business: "We took Wisconsin from the Bottom 10 for business to the Top 10." Mostly False.

Foxconn: "Foxconn is bringing 13,000 high-tech jobs to Wisconsin." Half True.

Taxes: Tax cuts approved and those proposed in his state budget "will exceed $8 billion by the time the budget is done." True.

Taxes: "Property taxes are lower right now than they were" in December 2010 on a median-valued home in Wisconsin. Mostly True.

Education: "We are investing more money into education than ever before in the history of Wisconsin." Mostly False.

Economy: "Wisconsin’s economy is in the best shape it’s been since 2000." Half True.

Transportation: "Road projects across the state are staying on track or getting done sooner thanks to the good work of the team at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation." Mostly False.

Candidates who dropped out

ANDY GRONIK Fox Point businessman

Biography: "I’ve lived" in Milwaukee "all 61 years of my life." Mostly False.

Race: "Black Americans still earn less than 73 percent of what white men make." Half True.

Foxconn: Wisconsin is "guaranteeing Foxconn almost $3 billion, but Foxconn is not contractually guaranteeing how many full-time employees it will hire, for how long and at what pay." Half True.

Internet: Says Scott Walker "has taken money away from internet expansion in our state." Mostly False.

Business: Wisconsin is "dead-last in creating new businesses" for "three years in a row." Half True.

DANA WACHS State representative, Eau Claire

Medicaid: Says Scott Walker "has turned down $1 billion of Medicaid money over the course of his tenure." Mostly True.

Business: "We are last in the nation in startups — 50th." True.

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PolitiFact Wisconsin items as noted

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Updated: Fact tracking the 2018 candidates for Wisconsin governor