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Eric Holder to campaign for Janet Protasiewicz in high-stakes Wisconsin Supreme Court race

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 3/27/2023 Barnini Chakraborty
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Former Attorney General Eric Holder will head to Wisconsin to campaign for progressive candidate Janet Protasiewicz in the state's high-stakes Supreme Court race, billed as one of the country's most consequential elections of the year.

The winner of the April 4 contest between Judge Protasiewicz and former Justice Dan Kelly, the conservative candidate in the race, will likely tip the state's highest court and deliver tiebreaking votes on abortion, partisan gerrymandering, and election law after conservative Justice Patience Roggensack retires later this year.


Holder, who served as former President Barack Obama's attorney general for nearly eight years, is chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a group that works to redraw district maps that heavily favor Republicans.

The group's spokeswoman, Brooke Lillard, confirmed Holder would travel to the Badger State "in the days leading up to" the election to "help get out the vote" for Protasiewicz.

Obama has also weighed in on the race, tweeting last week: "Today is the first day of early voting in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election. It's going to be close, so don't wait until April 4th. Make a plan to vote today and encourage your family and friends to do the same."

Kelly and Protasiewicz advanced out of a four-way primary in February that broke the primary turnout record and is on track to becoming the most expensive state Supreme Court race in U.S. history.

So far, more than $31 million has already been spent on advertising, more than doubling the $15 million record spent on one seat in Illinois and surpassing the $21 million spent on a three-seat race in Pennsylvania.

Wisconsin had been heralded for its stringent campaign finance laws that clamped down on conflicts of interest and demanded transparency, but that was undermined by a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that lifted laws on independent expenditures by corporations. In 2015, Wisconsin's GOP-led legislature eased the limit on personal donations to political parties. What resulted was a mad dash by corporations, special interest groups, and wealthy individuals to exert their influence on races.

Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, who are part of a Milwaukee beer dynasty and are among the top five biggest GOP donors in the country, have given Kelly $40,000 ($20,000 is the most one donor can give) while also spending $5.2 million more through the super PAC Fair Courts America, which was created in 2020 with a mission of taking down the "woke mob" by electing conservative candidates.

Richard Uihlein's cousin, Lynde Bradley Uihlein, has taken a hard-left turn from her family's conservative policies and put $20,000 of her own money into Protasiewicz's coffers.

State Democratic Chairman Ben Wikler told Bloomberg Government that the massive amounts of cash being funneled into the race is so "explosively high because the stakes are so monstrously gigantic."

"Wisconsin is on a knife's edge and holds the power to sway a presidential election one way or another," he added.

The state Supreme Court played a critical role in the 2020 presidential election when the court narrowly blocked an attempt by allies of former President Donald Trump to toss 200,000 ballots from counties that leaned left.


With so much on the line, the candidates have both picked up high-profile endorsements.

Protasiewicz has gotten support from several Wisconsin lawmakers, including Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), as well as more than a dozen labor unions, human rights organizations, and several pro-abortion rights groups. Kelly has picked up endorsements from the state's three leading anti-abortion groups, the National Rife Association, and two police unions.


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Tags: Wisconsin, Elections, Eric Holder, News, Campaigns

Original Author: Barnini Chakraborty

Original Location: Eric Holder to campaign for Janet Protasiewicz in high-stakes Wisconsin Supreme Court race


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