Kaul declares victory over Schimel in attorney general race

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Josh Kaul

MADISON, Wis. - Democrat Josh Kaul declared victory Wednesday morning over Republican Brad Schimel in the attorney general's race.

Kaul held a 9 a.m. news conference in front of the Dane County Courthouse to declare victory.

“I am honored to be your next attorney general,” Kaul said. “As Wisconsin’s next attorney general, I will be a watchdog for Wisconsinites.”

Kaul said he will ensure that DNA matches from the testing of rape kits are fully investigated, and he will work with the Legislature and the governor to address the increase in testing times at the state crime labs.

“We will also start responding to our opioid epidemic like the crisis it is,” Kaul said. “We are going to do more to address our meth problem as well.”

Kaul said he will work with Tony Evers to withdraw from the lawsuit that is seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act.

“No one in Wisconsin should be denied health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition,” Kaul said.

Kaul said he will also focus on school safety measures, common sense gun safety measures and long-term funding for mental health programs in schools.

Incumbent Schimel released a statement Wednesday morning.

"I just got off the phone with Josh Kaul. While the results are not final, it appears he has won this race. I told him I am waiting until the municipal and county canvasses are complete, all military ballots are accounted for and that every vote is counted," Schimel said.

Schimel said he wants to know more about what happened with the absentee ballots in Milwaukee County.

"However, if the margin does not substantially change, I have vowed that my team will assist him in making the transition as smooth as possible. I want to thank nearly 1.3 Million Wisconsinites for their votes, their prayers and support. We will all know more in about a week," Schimel said in the statement.

Schimel ran against Kaul in an election that pollsters said would come down to the support of undecided voters.

Schimel was running for a chance at a second term in the position. He was elected attorney general in 2014 and prior to that he was the district attorney in Waukesha County.

Kaul, a federal prosecutor and son of late Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, campaigned saying it is time for a change in the state.

If elected, Kaul also said he wanted to make tackling the state's opioid epidemic one of his top priorities.