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Jennifer Dorow, Dan Kelly, Janet Protasiewicz and Everett Mitchell.
Jennifer Dorow, Dan Kelly, Janet Protasiewicz and Everett Mitchell.John Hart / Wisconsin State Journal via AP

Over $9 million spent on ads in Wisc. state Supreme Court race

The high stakes for the state's court continue to attract big spending for Tuesday's primary, per AdImpact.


Millions of dollars in ads have hit Wisconsin's airwaves ahead of Tuesday's primary in the closely watched state Supreme Court race as voters head to the polls to pick the two candidates who will face off in April's elections.

The election is technically nonpartisan, although the four candidates have staked out clear liberal and conservative positions. Four candidates are competing in the primary, and the top two vote getters will advance to the general election on April 4. 

The top spender on the airwaves is an outside GOP group called Fair Courts America, which has spent $2.8 million on ads boosting conservative Daniel Kelly, a former state Supreme Court justice. The group is funded largely by GOP megadonor Richard Uihlein.

One of the group's recent spots touted Kelly as a judge with "a proven record of protecting our freedoms and cast the deciding vote to end the COVID lockdowns of our schools and businesses."

Liberal Janet Protasiewicz, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge who has been endorsed by EMILY’s List, which backs pro-abortion rights women candidates, has spent nearly $2.3 million.

Protasiewicz has centered some of her recent messaging on her support for abortion rights. A recent ads describes her as a judge who "believes in abortion rights, fairness for all, and protecting public safety."

And a liberal group called A Better Wisconsin Together Political Fund has spent $2.2 million on ads against conservative Jennifer Dorow, a Waukesha County Circuit Court judge who presided over the high-profile trial of a man who killed six people after driving his car through a local Christmas parade.

A spot from the group currently on the airwaves targets Dorow's record on criminal cases, claiming she "lets criminals off the hook."

The fourth candidate in the race is Everett Mitchel, a liberal Dane County Circuit Court judge.

The race will decide the balance of the court in a crucial battleground state, with issues relating to abortion rights and elections expected to come before the court.