Bruce Murphy

Ad Campaign Targets Republicans on Protasiewicz Impeachment

Six-figure ad buy by Republican Accountability Project targets GOP districts.

By - Sep 12th, 2023 01:01 pm
Janet Protasiewicz. Photo courtesy of Janet Protasiewicz' campaign

Janet Protasiewicz. Photo courtesy of Janet Protasiewicz’ campaign

The bipartisan Republican Accountability Project has announced a six-figure Wisconsin ad campaign “targeting Speaker Robin Vos and extreme Republicans for threatening to impeach Judge Janet Protasiewicz,” the group announced today.

“The campaign will run this 30-second ad on Fox News statewide, including in prime time. It will also run digitally in the districts of Speaker Vos and 20 other extreme Republicans who are backing the impeachment effort,” the group announced.

“The election was a landslide,” the ad says while showing images of Judge Protasiewicz’s victory. “Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly elected Judge Janet Protasiewicz. Now some extreme Republicans in Madison want to impeach Judge Protasiewicz before she’s even ruled on a single case.”

The ad closes by saying: “That’s not how democracy works in Wisconsin. Here, state Supreme Court justices are chosen by the people, not politicians. Call your legislators and tell them not to overturn the will of Wisconsin voters.”

Last week, state Democratic Party chair Ben Wikler announced a $4 million, “multi-pronged campaign” to fight the Republican effort to remove Protasiewicz that would include door-knocking, phone calls, text messages and other digital outreach, along with “a multimillion-dollar digital and television ad campaign.”

This ad buy, however, would seem to be independent of the Democratic campaign. The Republican Accountability Project says it is made up “of Republicans, former Republicans, and conservatives who are committed to protecting and preserving American democracy. The campaign consciously uses pro-democracy messaging to appeal to conservatives and independents who are alarmed by extreme Republicans’ anti-democratic actions in the state.”

Protasiewicz, a liberal, defeated conservative Dan Kelly by 11 percentage points in the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court in April. But Vos and Republican legislators have threatened to impeach Protasiewicz, arguing that her comments saying the state’s legislative districts are “rigged” shows she is prejudiced on the issue. Conservatives filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission charging that her campaign comments had violated that state’s judicial code of ethics, but they were thrown out by the commission, which declared that it “dismissed these complaints without action” and “The matter is now closed.”

Republican need only a majority vote of the Assembly to impeach Protasiewicz and then the case would go to the Senate for trial. Once impeached, Protasiewicz would have to step down from the court while awaiting trial, where a two-thirds majority vote would be needed to find her guilty. But if found guilty, her replacement would be appointed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. So Republicans have now hatched a strategy to have the Senate sit on the case without scheduling a trial, so Protasiewicz would continue to be removed from the court, leaving it evenly divided at 3-3 on ideological lines.

Polls have suggested most voters in Wisconsin support nonpartisan maps. A 2019 poll by the Marquette University Law School found that 72 percent of Wisconsin voters want a nonpartisan commission to draw the legislative and congressional district maps instead of the elected officials. That included the support of 63 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of independents, and 83 percent of Democrats. And in the April election Protasiewicz carried 12 Republican-held districts in the Assembly and six in the Senate.

The ad campaign by the Republican Accountability Project will run on TV in every district in the state and will also run digitally in the districts of 21 members of the Legislature. “The 21 members being targeted have signaled their support for the potential impeachment of Judge Protasiewicz or are likely to support the effort based on past statements,” explained the group’s spokesperson Tony Franquiz to Urban Milwaukee. The list of those 21 legislators can be found here.

The Republican Accountability Project has raised and spent many millions to help defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election and defeat candidates who embraced Trump’s false election claims in the 2022 mid-term election. The group is running ads opposing Trump in the Republican presidential primary for 2024, including a recent, huge billboard ad in New York’s Times Square listing all 91 of the felony charges against the ex-president.

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Categories: Politics

One thought on “Ad Campaign Targets Republicans on Protasiewicz Impeachment”

  1. ringo muldano says:

    Republican Accountability is completely non-existent and Project implies work, something that rCons avoid at taxpayer expense.

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