Democrats are all hands on deck as early voting begins in Wisconsin's pivotal Supreme Court race.
The retirement of conservative justice Patience Roggensack has placed the court up for grabs, with significant policy implications for the swing state.
The consequences of the election, the most expensive of its kind in American history, are big enough that Barack Obama is urging Democrats to start voting immediately.
“Today is the first day of early voting in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election,” Obama tweeted. “It’s going to be close, so don’t wait until April 4th. Make a plan to vote today and encourage your family and friends to do the same.”
The April 4 contest will pit conservative former state Supreme Court justice Dan Kelly against an unabashed partisan and abortion extremist, Milwaukee Judge Janet Protasiewicz.
Election integrity is a major concern in the state, which has played a decisive role in recent presidential elections. President Trump narrowly lost Wisconsin in 2020 by some 20,000 votes.
The state's Supreme Court banned ballot drop boxes last year, but decisions like those could become less common if control of the court flips to the left.
During the race's only debate Tuesday, Protasiewicz suggested the state's electoral maps should be redrawn, saying they were too favorable to Republicans.
"She's already told each and every one of you how she will approach this. And although she says the formulaic words that she will follow the law, she's never said one thing in this campaign that would lead to any reasonable belief that that's what she will do," Kelly said.
Protasiewicz used sharply partisan language to condemn Kelly as a "true threat to our democracy" for his role in the so-called "fake elector scheme" in 2020.
She also implied that there should be no limits on a woman's "right" to have an abortion.
"My personal opinion is that it should be a women's right to make a reproductive health decision, period," she added.
Conservatives have also been sounding the alarm about Protasiewicz's lenient treatment of serious criminals. A man who raped a 13-year-old girl and then shared a video of the assault on Facebook was sentenced by Protasiewicz to probation.
Protasiewicz says her record has been "cherry-picked and selected and twisted" by her opponents.