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Janet Protasiewicz participates in a debat, in Madison, Wis.
Janet Protasiewicz participates in a debate, in Madison, Wis., in March 21, 2023. Morry Gash / AP

Protasiewicz stresses impartiality in closing Wisconsin court race ads

In her closing ads ahead of the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz also highlights her stance on abortion.


With just one week to go before Election Day, Judge Janet Protasiewicz is stressing fairness and impartiality in her bid to be the Wisconsin's next state Supreme Court justice.

In one of two closing ads released Tuesday, a narrator tells voters, "Judge Janet Protasiewicz: She'll protect our rights and freedoms. She'll be fair, impartial and independent."

The same ad doesn't mention her opponent, former Justice Daniel Kelly, by name, but it paints him as an "extremist," while calling her a "common sense judge."

The issue of impartiality and fairness came up in a debate between both candidates last week, where Kelly tried to paint Protasiewicz as a partisan Democrat for accepting donations from the state Democratic Party. Protasiewicz tried to portray Kelly as a conservative Republican, citing his work for the state Republican Party as an attorney.

The race is technically non-partisan.

Protasiewicz's latest ad also highlights her views on abortion, with a narrator saying, "Judge Janet Protasiewicz believes in women’s freedom to make their own decisions when it comes to abortion."

Abortion has been a focal point in the race, as the state Supreme Court is expected to decide the future of abortion rights in the state within the next few years. Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, Wisconsin has been subject to an 1849 law that bans almost all abortions and makes performing abortions a felony.

In the second ad out on Tuesday, Protasiewicz speaks directly into the camera, telling voters, "Soon you’ll be headed to the polls to decide the future of our state and here’s my promise to you. I’ll look at every case in a fair, impartial manner. And I’ll follow the law and our constitution."

Protasiewicz has maintained a clear spending advantage on the airwaves since the race's primary in February, according to AdImpact, an ad tracking firm.

Her campaign spent almost $9.3 million on TV ads since the primary, while Kelly's campaign has spent just over $577,000 in the same period.

Two groups supporting Kelly in the race -- Fair Courts America and WMC Issues Mobilization Council -- have spent a combined almost $7 million since the primary. They launched new ads this week, too.