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Brad Schimel

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Brad Schimel
Brad Schimel.jpg
Attorney General of Wisconsin
In office
Term ends
Years in position 0
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
High schoolMukwonago High School
Bachelor'sUniversity of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1987)
J.D.University of Wisconsin-Madison (1990)
Office website
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Brad Schimel is the current Republican Attorney General of Wisconsin. He was first elected to the office in 2014, defeating Susan Happ (D) on November 4, 2014.[1]


Schimel served as Waukesha County District Attorney from 2006 until 2014. In 2011, he was appointed to serve on the Wisconsin Judicial Council and on the Wisconsin Crime Victim Council. He was an instructor in the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Department at Waukesha County Technical College and a former adjunct instructor at Concordia University.[2]


  • Mukwonago High School
  • B.A. in political Science, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1987)
  • J.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison (1990)[2]

Political career

Wisconsin Attorney General (2015-present)

Schimel was first elected to the attorney general's office in 2014 and sworn into office on January 5, 2015. He replaced J.B. Van Hollen (R), who served in the position from 2007 to 2015.[2]



See also: Wisconsin attorney general election, 2014

Schimel ran for election to the office of Attorney General of Wisconsin. Schimel won the Republican nomination without opposition in the primary on August 12.[3] The general election took place November 4, 2014.


General election
Attorney General of Wisconsin, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBrad Schimel 51.5% 1,211,388
     Democratic Susan Happ 45.4% 1,066,866
     Libertarian Thomas Nelson 3% 70,951
     Nonpartisan Scattering 0% 1,120
Total Votes 2,350,325
Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

Race background

Incumbent J.B. Van Hollen (R) did not run for a third term in 2014, leaving an open seat. Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel was unopposed in the Republican primary. Schimel's Democratic opponent, Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ, overcame two challengers to win the nomination. A third candidate, Libertarian Thomas Nelson, also appeared on the November 4 general election ballot.

Polling in mid-September showed that the two major-party candidates were even, with Schimel at 39 percent and Happ at 38 percent.[4] The race became heated, with the candidates differing on issues such as how they would respond to the lawsuit challenging the 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.[5] Happ said that she would not defend the ban while Schimel said that he would defend any part of the Wisconsin Constitution.

Both campaigns attacked their opponent for being soft on crime. Democrats accused Schimel of failing to secure longer sentences for sex offenders while Republicans claimed that Happ deferred prosecution of an alleged sex offender who had purchased a house from Happ until after he paid off his debt.[6]


October 12 debate

Schimel and Happ discussed how they would approach the duties of the attorney general's office during a debate sponsored by Marquette University. A flash point during the debate was the issue of whether the candidates would defend controversial laws like voter ID requirements and a same-sex marriage ban. Schimel argued that he would defend state law because the attorney general is not a" "super-legislator" who picks which laws to enforce based on personal politics. Happ responded by saying that the attorney general is not a "robot," and should not blindly follow state laws that are unconstitutional or run afoul of other principles.[7]

Schimel and Happ found consensus in their skepticism that larger penalties for first drunk-driving offenses would curb such offenses. The opponents also noted that the attorney general's office should be more proactive with treatment programs that could reduce the population of state prisons. Schimel did not have a definitive answer to whether he would defend a state law barring coordination between candidates and outside groups. This issue has emerged as prosecutors investigate whether Gov. Scott Walker's (R) campaign coordinated with conservative groups during an effort to recall him in 2012. Happ responded to accusations by Schimel supporters that she was lenient in a child-molestation case in 2012 because the accused purchased her house. The Democratic candidate noted that she recused herself from the case.[7]

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Political offices
Preceded by
J.B. Van Hollen (R)
Wisconsin Attorney General
Succeeded by