Two weeks until Wisconsin Supreme Court elections

In Wisconsin, voters will decide the ideological balance of their state supreme court on April 4, 2023, choosing between Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz and former Justice Daniel Kelly.

While Wisconsin’s supreme court elections are officially nonpartisan, PBS Wisconsin’s Zac Schultz wrote, “Protasiewicz and Kelly are heavily aligned with the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively.”

The winner will succeed retiring Justice Patience Roggensack, a member of the court’s current 4-3 conservative majority. If Protasiewicz wins, the court will switch to a 4-3 liberal majority. If Kelly wins, the conservative majority will remain.

According to, this race has had more than $27 million in spending, making it the most expensive judicial election in U.S. history, breaking a $15 million record set in a 2004 Illinois Supreme Court election. That $27 million figure includes candidate spending, but most of it — $18 million according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign — has come from satellite groups.

A Better Wisconsin Together — a committee whose largest donors are labor unions and Democratic ideological groups — has spent more than $5 million supporting Protasiewicz and opposing Kelly. On Feb. 23, the group released an ad saying Kelly “repeatedly attacked abortion rights and groups fighting to protect them” and  “is endorsed by groups who’d ban abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest.”

Fair Courts America — a committee funded primarily by Richard Uihlein, owner of a shipping and packaging supply company — has spent more than $4.6 million supporting Kelly and opposing Protasiewicz. In early March, the group published a website supporting Kelly and opposing Protasiewicz, describing her as “Dan Kelly’s dangerous opponent … Her record = putting criminals back on the street as soon as possible!”

The State Bar of Wisconsin, WISC-TV, and hosted the only debate between the two candidates on March 21.

Barring any vacancies in the interim, the next supreme court election in Wisconsin will be in 2025, when Justice Ann Walsh Bradley’s term expires. Walsh is a member of the court’s current liberal majority.