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Republican law professor announces attorney general run

Story By AP
Local News Published 04/19/2021 10:57AM
Madison - University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Ryan Owens announced Monday that he will run for attorney general, becoming the second Republican to enter the race against incumbent Democrat Josh Kaul.

Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney announced a run for attorney general earlier this month. The primary is over a year away on Aug. 9, 2022. Kaul was first elected in 2018.

Owens said in a statement announcing his candidacy that Kaul puts his political goals ahead of "freedom, safety, and prosperity."

Pressed for examples in a follow-up email, Owens said Kaul should have joined a lawsuit that Ohio's Republican attorney general, Dave Yost, filed in March challenging provisions in the Biden administration's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that prohibit states from using the money to cover tax reductions. Owens also pointed to briefs Kaul filed last year in supporting a Dane County order to start school online.

Owens serves as a political science professor and an affiliate faculty member at UW-Madison's law school. He's also been the director of the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership since it was created in 2017, but he's stepping down at the end of the current academic year. The center brings speakers to campus and hosts conferences on a variety of public policy topics, with a focus on promoting public leadership and good governance.

Owens holds a doctorate in political science from Washington University-St. Louis and a law degree from UW-Madison. Owens served one year as Thompson's extraditions assistant when Thompson was governor in 1998 and 1999. He taught at Harvard's law school from 2008 to 2011.
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