MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) — The indictment of former President Donald Trump is likely to have little bearing on the Wisconsin Supreme Court race to be decided next week as Democrats seek to entangle majority control of the court with the Fate of Access on the line to reverse abortions in the state, those closely watching the contest said Friday.
Trump was not directly involved in the race, has not endorsed anyone, and the Republican-backed candidate has sought to distance his ties to the former president and the GOP. Additionally, Trump’s support appears to be waning among Republicans in the battleground state, which he barely won in 2016 and lost by a similar margin in 2020.
“While this (charge) may get the juice flowing from some of his supporters, some may have a head shake and a shrug,” said longtime Republican strategist and former GOP party chairman Brandon Scholz. “This thing with the prosecution doesn’t really have anything to do with this race. It’s a Trump issue.”
Charles Franklin, a pollster at Marquette University Law School, said the indictment could boost turnout among both Trump’s most ardent supporters and his most ardent Democrat opponents. But he didn’t think it would fundamentally change the dynamic of the Supreme Court race between Republican-backed Dan Kelly and Democrat-backed Janet Protasiewicz, set to be decided on Tuesday.
“The classic October surprises are things that involve the candidates themselves, not someone else,” Franklin said. “For that reason, I think there is probably less reason to believe that this news will dramatically change the Supreme Court race, since people would need to know enough to associate Donald Trump with the Supreme Court race, and have not planned to vote or vote otherwise on Tuesday’s election.”
Protasiewicz campaign spokesman Sam Roecker said Friday, “We do not expect voters to be distracted by events in New York.”
“We are focused on winning a crucial election four days from now that will have long-term consequences for millions of Wisconsinians when it comes to issues like reproductive rights and the strength of our democracy,” he said. “We know voters are focused on this race because it is an opportunity to restore fairness and impartiality to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.”
Kelly didn’t immediately respond to a message asking for comment.
Supporters of Kelly, who previously served on the state Supreme Court, hope the indictment will fuel GOP base like the raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home the day before Wisconsin’s August GOP gubernatorial primary.
Although Trump supported Kelly in his 2020 bid for the court, this time Kelly did not seek Trump endorsement and would not even commit to accepting one if offered.
Kelly worked for the Wisconsin Republican Party and Republican National Committee after losing the 2020 election. He also advised the state’s top Republicans after Trump’s defeat in 2020 on their plan to have fake voters fill Wisconsin’s electoral electorate for him.
“I’m up against probably one of the most extreme partisan characters in the history of this state,” Protasiewicz said during their only debate in March.
“Again, you’re quick to lie,” Kelly replied.
Kelly insisted throughout the campaign that his personal politics were irrelevant, stressing that he was committed to the “rule of law”.
The indictment came Thursday after 10 days of early voting across the state. As of Friday morning, nearly 353,000 mail-in ballots had been returned. Early voting ends on Sunday.
“Things have been moving for a long time in the last few days before an election,” said pollster Franklin. “People have already made up their minds whether to vote or not, and if so, who they will support. In that sense, these red-hot things don’t change the support hugely, especially if they don’t involve the candidates.”
Tuesday’s winner will determine majority control of the court that is expected to decide the fate of Wisconsin’s near-total abortion ban, Republican-muddled legislative districts and voting rights ahead of the 2024 presidential election. The court could have overturned President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory by a single vote.
Protasiewicz, a Milwaukee County District Judge, has attempted to turn the race into a de facto abortion referendum while simultaneously blasting Kelly for his ties to Republicans and his work for Wisconsin Right to Life.
Abortion rights groups, including Planned Parenthood, stand behind Protasiewicz. The Wisconsin Democratic Party has given her campaign nearly $9 million, helping her gain an advantage over Kelly in television advertising.
Kelly’s supporters include the state and local GOP chapters, as well as GOP mega-donors Richard Uihlein and Diane Hendricks.
Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.
Source : www.washingtontimes.com