Election deniers are playing the long game in Wisconsin and hope to take the state off the board for Democrats for a decade or more.
Groups and individuals who promoted conspiracies about Donald Trump's election loss have poured more than $3.9 million into the state Supreme Court race, where political advertising has reached at least $20 million for liberal county judge Janet Protasiewicz and conservative Daniel Kelly -- a favorite of right-wing donors and influencers, reported The Guardian.
“There is an organized group of insurrectionists who are trying to actively fund candidates for elected office, including judgeships,” said Jeremi Suri, a professor of public affairs and history at the University of Texas-Austin.
Kelly reportedly provided special counsel to the Republican Party on a phony electors scheme to keep Trump in office despite his loss, and his judicial campaign has been backed by groups associated with right-wing billionaire Richard Uihlein, who spent at least $1.5 million on TV ads ahead of the Feb. 21 primary and has booked more than $3.9 million in ads set to run ahead of the April 4 election.
Trump-aligned Florida billionaire John Childs contributed at least $800,000 to the Uihlein-funded Restoration PAC, while Texas billionaire Brett Hendrickson, along with election deniers Sen. Ted Budd (R-NC) and Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), also contributed.
Federalist Society chairman Leonard Leo and ABC Supply chairwoman Diane Hendricks each contributed the maximum $20,000 to Kelly's campaign, and each have funded groups involved in trying to overturn Trump's election loss.
“I don’t think the insurrectionists have given up," Suri said. "They’re still looking for candidates, and they’re particularly interested in someone like Kelly, who, if he can get on the Supreme Court, will have a 10-year term and will be pretty much unaccountable.”