Less than a month from the election, far-Left Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz is hiding, Republicans insist.
It’s gotten so bad the mainstream media is starting to cover Protasiewicz’s absence.
As The Wisconsin Daily Star first reported on Friday, the Milwaukee County judge bailed on an American Constitution Society (ACS) debate with her conservative opponent, former state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly.
Protasiewicz has not returned multiple requests for comment, and did not explain why she would not be appearing at the debate, scheduled for Tuesday in Milwaukee. Her campaign apparently told other media outlets she has a “scheduling conflict.” Seems to be a lot of scheduling conflicts over the next few weeks for a judge with a massive amount of money to spend on campaign ads.
She’s also ditched a Milwaukee Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon Forum set for next Tuesday. In fact, the far left candidate has declined to appear at several debates and forums with Kelly until late March, two weeks before the critical April 4 election that will determine whether conservatives or liberals control Wisconsin’s high court.
Kelly said he will still attend the events Protasiewicz skip.
As the Republican Party of Wisconsin (RPW) notes, Protasiewicz “conveniently” decided not to engage until after early voting in the election is well underway.
RPW accuses Protasiewicz of refusing to talk about what her critics say is Protasiewicz’s “soft-on-crime” record.
“Politician Protasiewicz has defended sharing and imposing her liberal values and believes the electorate should know her values — so why is she afraid to defend them now, before she hopes to impose them on everyone else?” the state GOP says in a statement, referring to Protasiewicz claiming in the campaign that she proudly wears her “progressive values.”
“Is she afraid to explain how giving weak sentences to child sexual predators or a mother who starved her son to death is ‘fair?’” the Republican Party added.
Political insiders tell The Daily Star Protasiewicz is following the Democrat playbook followed by Joe Biden with a “bunker campaign” policy of spending lots of money on TV ads while keeping a low profile. One source said the liberal Milwaukee County Judge is doing what former Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, a Democrat, did in his failed race last year against incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson: hiding out. Barnes, coincidentally, endorsed Protasiewicz on Monday.
Plenty of these debates are hosted by good friends of the Left. As The Daily Star reported, the American Constitution Society is a “diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, judges, scholars, advocates, and many others.” Its mission, in part, is to “redress the founding failures of our Constitution and enduring inequities in our laws in pursuit of realized equality.”
ACS is all-in on its version of Supreme Court “reform”, insisting the “conservative supermajority is threatening our democratic legitimacy by failing to uphold constitutional guardrails.” The organization considers voter integrity laws to be “voter suppression”, and loathes the kind of textualist reading of law that has ended federal control over abortion law through Roe v. Wade.
Former Wisconsin U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, a Democrat, serves as the society’s president.
Protasiewicz should feel right at home. She has excoriated the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, a decision that federally protected a “woman’s right to choose” to terminate the lives of more than 50 million preborn human beings.
Wisconsin’s mainstream media has been slow in reporting on Protasiewicz’ lack of in-person appearances at debates. That changed on Monday afternoon, when news outlets started taking notice — after the Kelly campaign released a press release encouraging media to contact the Protasiewicz campaign to see whether she will attend any of the scheduled debates.
The Wisconsin State Journal ran a piece about Protasiewicz bailing on joint appearances with Kelly, noting that a State Bar of Wisconsin debate, scheduled for March 21, is the only publicly announced debate, forum or panel the liberal candidate will appear at with Kelly.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a piece Monday afternoon, acknowledging what has been clear for several days: Protasiewicz is ducking debates.
“…(S)he has so far agreed to one major public forum with opponent former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly and declined to answer questions about her candidacy at events organized by the nonpartisan Milwaukee Press Club, WisPolitics.com and Rotary Club of Milwaukee, WISN-TV, the Wisconsin chapters of the liberal-leaning American Constitution Society and the Wisconsin Justice Initiative, and the Milwaukee chapter of the conservative-leaning Federalist Society — resulting in at least two of the organizations to cancel their events,” the newspaper reported.
Ben Voelkel, with the Kelly campaign, said Protasiewicz’s absence is a “big deal.”
“The fact is, everyone in Wisconsin, the media included, should want to hear more from a candidate who has said she is going to put her thumb on the scales, ruling according to her values instead of the law,” Voelkel said. “I think the media should be concerned about that. Hopefully they remain interested in this going forward.”
The deadline to register to vote by mail or online is March 15, after which voters may register in-person through March 31. Early voting begins March 21 and General Election day is April 4, 2023.
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Janet Protasiewicz” by Janet for Justice. Background Photo “Wisconsin Supreme Court” by Royalbroil. CC BY-SA 3.0.