Wisconsin voters are still recovering from all the ads associated with the November elections that decided races for governor, U.S. Senate, Congress, and the state Legislature.

Now comes another big race — this time for former Chief Justice Pat Roggensack’s seat and a 10-year term on the state Supreme Court. The race will decide philosophical control of the high court, which has
been in conservative hands.

The stakes are big because of issues that could come before the high court: abortion and legislative maps among them.

The race is already attracting national attention from special interest groups and deep-pocketed donors.

The four candidates have recently filed their campaign finance reports. The officially nonpartisan race features a Feb. 21 primary, which will narrow the field to two for the April general election:

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz raised more during the most recent reporting period than her three rivals for state Supreme Court combined.

Protasiewicz pulled in $756,117 during the full six-month period that ended Dec. 31.

By comparison, liberal rival Everett Mitchell, a Dane County Circuit Court judge, raised $115,689.

On the conservative side, former Justice Daniel Kelly raised $312,359 while Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow reported $306,919 in receipts.

Protasiewicz and Mitchell were the only ones who were actively fundraising for the full six-month period. Dorow’s fundraising all came in the month of December, while Kelly launched his bid to rejoin
the court in September.

Protasiewicz, who got into the race last spring, spent $185,523 over the six-month period, and finished the year with $734,962 in the bank. For all of 2022, she raised $924,349.

Protasiewicz reported 14 donors who gave her the maximum contribution of $20,000. They include: Milwaukee philanthropist Lynde Uihlein; California doctor and Democrat megadonor Karla Jurvetson; former Supreme Court candidate Tim Burns; and philanthropists David Lubar, Marianne Lubar and Madeleine Lubar.

She also received $18,000 each from the Operating Engineers 139 PAC and the American Federation of Teachers 212.

Her other notable donations include $5,000 from attorney Mark Thomsen, a Democrat appointee to the state Elections Commission, and $1,000 each from Democrat state Sen. Kelda Roys and Jodi Habush Sinykin, the Democrat candidate in the special election for the 8th Senate District in the Milwaukee area.

Mitchell spent $71,962 during the reporting period and finished the year with $72,162 in the bank.

His biggest donor was Gloria Page. The Los Altos, Calif., resident, who was listed as not employed, donated $7,500 over three contributions. Meanwhile, Telisa Yancy, president of the American Family Insurance Group of companies, gave him $5,000.

Dorow spent $23,748 and finished the period with $283,172 in the bank.

Her top donor was John Nagy, a Hartland retiree, who contributed $8,000 between two donations. Meanwhile, Brian Kaminski, the president and owner of Select Advisory Group, contributed $5,777. She also received 11 donations of $5,000 donations, including a contribution from Logistics Health founder Don Weber.

Duane Foulkes, the founder of Apache Stainless Equipment in Beaver Dam, gave $5,000 to each of Dorow and Kelly.

Kelly spent $52,387 and had $276,554 in the bank to close the year.

He reported $20,000 each from Dick and Liz Uihlein, the Illinois business couple and GOP megadonors. He also received $20,000 from Stephen Kieffer, a Princeton retiree who previously owned a sign

A group with ties to Dick Uihlein has pledged to spend millions to educate the public about Kelly in this spring’s race as he seeks to rejoin the court after losing a 2020 bid for a full 10-year term.

Nine donors gave Kelly $10,000, including developer Terrence Wall and Stanley Hubbard, the president and CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Elections Commission Chair Don Millis gave Kelly $5,000. Madison businessman Eric Hovde and former state GOP Chair Rick Graber gave him $2,500 each.

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The Capitol Report is written by editorial staff at, a nonpartisan, Madison-based news service that specializes in coverage of government and politics, and is distributed for publication by members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

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