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Saturday, May 08, 2021
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Ryan Owens is the director at the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership. He faces a primary challenge from Fond du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney. 

UW-Madison professor announces Republican candidacy for attorney general

Conservative UW-Madison political science professor Ryan Owens announced his bid for Wisconsin attorney general Monday. 

Owens is the second Republican to run for the seat currently held by Democrat Josh Kaul, who has not yet announced if he will seek re-election. The election will take place in 2022. 

“I’m a conservative professor and constitutional lawyer. I’m not a politician. I’m running because Wisconsin deserves an attorney general who will put our freedoms first. Josh Kaul repeatedly put his political goals ahead of our freedom, safety and prosperity,” said Owens. 

In an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal, Owens criticized Kaul for not doing enough during last summer’s protests and riots in Wisconsin. 

“Under Josh Kaul’s leadership we have seen greater conflict than ever,” said Owens in his first campaign advertisement. “Join me and together we will create a safer, freer, more prosperous future for Wisconsin.”

According to his campaign website, Owens supports qualified immunity for law enforcement, reopening schools and ending “government overreach.”

Owens already faces a challenger for the Republican party’s nomination. Eric Toney, Fond du Lac County District Attorney, announced his candidacy earlier this month. 

“I welcome Professor Owens to the race and I look forward to letting the voters hear about our records — his in the classroom and mine in the courtroom. I’m the prosecutor in the county where the Republican Party was founded in Ripon. My roots run deep in the Republican Party, and law enforcement and the voters will have a clear choice in the primary,” said Toney. 

Owens is supported by former conservative Supreme Court Justices, Daniel Kelly, Michael Gableman, David T. Prosser Jr. and former Lt. Gov. Margaret Farrow.  

Owens is a UW-Madison Law School faculty affiliate and directs the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership, where he plans to step down at the end of the school year.

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