Gun safety advocacy group launches $500K ad targeting Daniel Kelly in Wisconsin judicial race

Gun safety advocacy group launches $500K ad targeting Daniel Kelly in Wisconsin judicial race

John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP, File

A gun safety advocacy group launched a $500,000 ad campaign on Monday targeting former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly over abortion and gun safety in the state Supreme Court race.

“You already know Dan Kelly worked for a radical anti-abortion group, and on the court, could uphold Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban — with no exceptions for rape or incest,” a narrator says in the 30-second TV ad called “Know,” paid for by Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund.

“Here’s what you didn’t know: Kelly opposed background checks on all gun sales, and even wrote the court decision making it easier for dangerous people to carry guns in public. Banning abortion. Putting our communities at risk. Dan Kelly is too extreme for our Supreme Court,” the narrator finishes the ad by saying.

The ad will air in both the media markets in Milwaukee and Madison, according to the group.

The Hill reached out to a spokesman for Kelly’s campaign about the ad.

Wisconsin is holding an April 4 election to fill the open seat for outgoing conservative Justice Patience Roggensack in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race. Though the judicial election is technically nonpartisan, Kelly and Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz — the two candidates who are competing for the open seat next month — are seen as the conservative and liberal candidates, respectively.

With the retirement of Roggensack, the state Supreme Court has a 3-3 partisan split, meaning that whoever wins the April election will determine the partisan lean of the high court.

The issue of abortion has become a flashpoint in the race as the state Supreme Court is likely to weigh in on a contested 1849 abortion law, which offers very limited exceptions for the medical procedure.

Neither Protasiewicz nor Kelly has said how they would rule on the law should a case come before them, but Protasiewicz has made it clear that she supports abortion access and Kelly has been backed by several prominent anti-abortion groups.

Protasiewicz’s campaign noted in one of their ads that Kelly had previously worked for the anti-abortion group Wisconsin Right to Life, which has endorsed him in the race. The group in an email to The Associated Press denied that Kelly was on their payroll, but it didn’t elaborate on possible work he may have done.

A spokesman for the gun safety group pointed NBC News, which was the first to report about the ad, to a previous 2020 NRA endorsement and a majority opinion he wrote in 2017 while serving on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for the basis of some of their claims regarding Kelly’s positions on gun safety.