It’s the first candidate debate in the state Supreme Court general election. But Milwaukee Judge Janet Protasiewicz is refusing to debate former Justice Dan Kelly.
Left-wing Supreme Court justice Janet Protasiewicz is ducking her first opportunity to debate former Justice Dan Kelly, and organizers are planning to put an empty chair in her place during the March 1 Carroll University forum in Waukesha, Wisconsin Right Now has learned.
The forum is being moderated by a University of Wisconsin-Madison senior, Zach Lemke, and Carroll College University students were going to ask questions. Kelly has confirmed that he will be attending, debate organizers tell WRN.
The forum will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on March 1 at Carroll University’s Shattuck Music Center, 218 N East Ave, Waukesha, WI 53186.
There is now a notation on the website that reads, “On the afternoon of 2/27/23, via phone call with the Protasiewicz campaign, Judge Protasiewicz has declined to attend the forum on 3/1. Former Justice Daniel Kelly is confirmed and will address the questions developed for the candidate forum as scheduled.” You can get tickets still at the above link.
Protasiewicz’s campaign initially said they would consider debating, but suddenly said no on February 27, 2023, just two days before the debate, said Oconomowoc Alderman Lou Kowieski, who is helping organize the debate for the 5 Riders, a community group devoted to advancing “a mission to perpetuate Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Kowieski confirmed to WRN that an empty chair will stand in Protasiewicz’s place.
He said the forum was designed to provide both candidates with an opportunity “to provide their positions to the community.” Four questions would come from the 5 Riders group, two from Carroll University students, and one question from each campaign, he said.
“I don’t know how you could get more of a level format from that,” said Kowieski.
He said that they are “planning an empty chair” because “we wanted both sides represented.”
He said that the organizers are “extremely disappointed.” He said they probably wouldn’t have had the forum if Protasiewicz had declined to debate with more advance notice.
Asked his reaction to her declining, he said, “It speaks for itself. She’s missing opportunities to provide her position.”
He questioned whether “she will really be on the bench to represent the people” if she was unwilling to appear at a forum and answer questions from college students and others.