- A failed conservative candidate for Supreme Court in Wisconsin may have won his bid for sorest loser.
- Dan Kelly slammed his liberal rival Janet Protasiewicz as not a “worthy opponent.”
- Wisconsin’s Democratic Party Chair tweeted a clip of the speech, saying Kelly has “no grace.”
A failed conservative candidate for Supreme Court in Wisconsin may have won his bid for sorest loser.
Dan Kelly, a self-described judicial conservative, made no effort to disguise bitterness in his Tuesday night concession speech, slamming his liberal rival as a “serial liar” and not a “worthy opponent.”
“I wish that in a circumstance like this, I would be able to concede to a worthy opponent,” said Kelly. “But I do not have a worthy opponent to which I can concede. This was the most deeply deceitful, dishonorable despicable campaign I have ever seen run for the courts.”
Kelly got trounced by Janet Protasiewicz (pronounced “Pro-tuh-say-witz”), a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge backed by Democrats, in a race that saw nearly triple the previous national record for spending in court race. The election is technically nonpartisan.
Protasiewicz won by a robust 11-percentage-point margin, delivering a liberal majority to the bench for the first time in 15 years on a court that only narrowly rejected former President Donald Trump’s lawsuits attempting to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
Kelly, who previously served on the court and was endorsed by Trump in 2020 in his failed bid to retain the seat, was clearly seething as he delivered his concession.
“My concern is the damage done to the institution of the courts,” Kelly continued in his speech. “My opponent is a serial liar. She’s disregarded judicial ethics. She’s demeaned the judiciary with her behavior. This is the future that we have to look forward to in Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler tweeted a clip of the speech, saying Kelly has “no grace.”
—Ben Wikler (@benwikler) April 5, 2023
Democrats across the country saw the outcome of the race as decisive for the future of state abortion rights, congressional district boundaries and even the results — if challenged — of the 2024 presidential election. Former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were even weighing in.
Several Republicans said leading up to the election that they would consider impeaching her.
The race was heated and personal. During their only debate, Protasiewicz called Kelly “a true threat to our democracy,” saying he advised state Republican Party officials on a fake electors scheme to overturn the 2020 election results. Kelly said she was “lying” and that his advice was a 30-minute conversation.
Spending in the race topped $42 million, with Protasiewicz having a roughly $6 million advantage, according to the Associated Press.
Republicans clearly have their eye on Wisconsin’s 10 Electoral College votes. They will head to Milwaukee for their first primary debate and their 2024 national convention to formally select the party’s presidential nominee.