WI Supreme Court: Progressive Judge Janet Protasiewicz extended her already enormous fundraising lead in her final report before next week's pivotal Supreme Court election, posting a haul of $12.4 million between Feb. 7 and March 20 compared to just $2.2 million for her conservative opponent, former Justice Dan Kelly. During that timeframe, Protasiewicz spent $10.6 million but still had $2.1 million left for the stretch run while Kelly spent only $2 million and had less than $400,000 in his coffers.
Protasiewicz benefited heavily from $8 million in donations from the Wisconsin Democratic Party, which in turn received $1 million contributions from three billionaires, including Holocaust survivor George Soros and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The $3.3 million Protasiewicz brought in from individual donors was nonetheless greater than Kelly's take during this six-week period. Kelly has similarly enjoyed major billionaire support of his own from the Uihlein family, though most of the $4.5 million they've put in has gone to a super PAC rather than to Kelly's campaign directly.
The candidates and their allies have also begun airing their final TV ads. Protasiewicz released two almost entirely positive closing spots, one in which she touts her impartiality and another that focuses on her support for abortion rights and notes that voters will soon "decide the balance of the Supreme Court." (The second one briefly calls Kelly "an extremist.") Kelly and his top backers, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and the Uihlein-funded super PAC Fair Courts America, are all staying negative, with each running new ads that, as before, accuse Protasiewicz of issuing lenient sentences to criminals.