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Former Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington on Jan. 30, 2020.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder is heading to Wisconsin to campaign for the liberal candidate in the state Supreme Court race.Michael A. McCoy / AP file

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

A top issue in the race is how the candidates would rule in cases around the state's GOP-drawn maps, an issue in which the former attorney general is closely involved.


Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will campaign for Janet Protasiewicz in the final days of the closely watched Wisconsin Supreme Court race, a spokesperson for Holder’s group, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, told NBC News.

Holder, whose group pushes for congressional and legislative maps that favor Democrats and tackles gerrymandered maps that favor Republicans, will travel to Wisconsin “in the days leading up to” the April 4 election “to help get out the vote for” Protasiewicz, Brooke Lillard, a spokesperson for the group, said.

The Protasiewicz campaign and Holder, who served as former President Barack Obama's attorney general for most of his eight years in office, are still finalizing specific venues and dates for the appearances, Lillard said. A spokesperson for the Protasiewicz campaign directed questions from NBC News to the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.

Holder’s visit will come during the final days of a contest that will determine ideological control of the Wisconsin Supreme Court — and with it, the future of prominent issues like abortion rights and election laws.

Another top issue in the officially nonpartisan race has been how the two candidates would rule in cases involving the state’s Republican-drawn legislative maps.

The current map, which experts have said is one of the most gerrymandered in the country, was approved by the current state Supreme Court last year. As is the case in many states, in Wisconsin, if the governor and the Legislature cannot agree on legislative maps, the issue falls to the state Supreme Court.

Protasiewicz, the liberal candidate in the race, has throughout her campaign called the maps "rigged." Her conservative opponent Daniel Kelly has criticized her for telegraphing how she’d rule on important cases. 

The contest has already become the most expensive state Supreme Court race in U.S. history. Protasiewicz, along with outside groups supporting her, including the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, has massively outspent Kelly and outside groups supporting him.

Both candidates are running to replace Justice Patience Roggensack, a member of the court’s 4-3 conservative majority. A win by Kelly, a former state Supreme Court justice who lost his seat in a 2020 election to liberal Jill Karofsky, would retain conservative control of the court, while a win by Protasiewicz, a Milwaukee County circuit judge, would result in a liberal majority for the first time in 15 years.