ICYMI: Eric Holder Raises Wisconsin Supreme Court Election to National Importance
April 5, 2023
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Washington, D.C. — Since 2018, Eric H. Holder, Jr., the 82nd Attorney General of the United States and Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), has invested time and resources each year into Wisconsin Supreme Court races. Over the past half decade, Holder has made numerous trips to mobilize voters, raised millions of dollars, and brought increased national attention to these critical campaigns.
This year, Holder endorsed Judge Janet Protasiewicz following the Wisconsin Supreme Court primary election. Leading up to the general election, he participated in a series of fundraisers, including joint events with Wisconsin Democrats to help ensure her campaign had the resources to defend against national Republican attacks, and in the final days of the campaign he mobilized voters at a series of GOTV events and interviews.
Holder made investments in the Wisconsin Supreme Court races in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2023. Each cycle he traveled to the state, raised money and helped mobilize voters.
This past weekend, Holder traveled to Wisconsin to help get out the vote in the Milwaukee metropolitan area and Madison. While at a campaign stop, he spoke with Rev. Al Sharpton about the stakes of the election on his MSNBC show, PoliticsNation. In addition to Holder’s participation, NDRC and affiliates continuously engaged their grassroots networks to help recruit volunteers and get out the vote leading up to the April election.
In case you missed it, here is a sample of coverage from Attorney General Holder’s involvement in Wisconsin:
AUDIO: Keepin’ It Real with Rev. Al Sharpton – Eric Holder discusses what’s at stake in Wisconsin Supreme Court race
A fair and impartial justice, Janet Protasiewicz, Tuesday April 4th is the election, but early voting is now on, especially to my brothers and sisters in Milwaukee, early voting is easy from now until Saturday April the first…. Janet Protasiewicz, it’s a difficult last name to pronounce, but she’s fair, she’s impartial, and she is running against a MAGA extremist and that is why I am as involved in this election as I am.
On Saturday morning in a suburb north of Milwaukee, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder impressed upon a group of local Democrats and volunteers gathered in a packed living room that, if they didn’t already know it, “the nation is looking at what’s going to happen here in Wisconsin.”
Holder called that race and a special state Senate election in the Milwaukee suburbs between Republican Dan Knodl and Democrat Jodi Habush Sinykin, who was seated beside him, “the most important races of 2023.”
“The cavalry is not coming,” Holder warned, an April flurry of snowflakes falling onto the quiet street outside. “We are the cavalry. You all are the cavalry. You’re really soldiers in this fight for justice and equality.”
In Mequon that morning and at a canvass launch at the Waukesha County Democratic Party offices later that afternoon, Holder, now chair of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, spoke about Wisconsin Democrats as continuing the fight of Union soldiers who fought at Gettysburg, the troops who stormed the beaches of Normandy and civil rights leaders who marched on Selma and Montgomery.
“Every generation of Americans has been called upon to defend democracy,” he said. “This can’t be the first generation that fails to do so.”
“What’s happening here in Wisconsin up through next Tuesday, April the 4th, is what I think is the most important election in 2023 in this nation,” Holder told CBS 58. “We just want to have a system that is, in fact, fair.”
“I will tell you this. This is the most important election in this country in 2023,” said former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Saturday to get-out-the-vote volunteers in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha.
“I do know that she’s a fair, competent, impartial judge,” he said, “and I can tell you how her opponent would vote on a particular case, especially when it comes to questions of voting and gerrymandering.”
Washington Post: Expensive Court race will decide future of abortion in Wisconsin
Eric Holder, who served as attorney general under President Barack Obama and now leads the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, spent Saturday campaigning for Protasiewicz. He said in an interview after a stop in Waukesha on Saturday that Wisconsin’s race showed that political parties now recognize how important court races are.
“I’d like to go back to a place where they don’t need to get as much attention and the decisions are made more on traditional bases, but I suspect that’s not going to happen for a while,” he said.
Wisconsin Law Journal: Holder – Wisconsin voters have a change to save Democracy
“This is a state where progressivism was started with Robert La Follette. This is where it all began. People around the country looked to Wisconsin for how democracy should be perfected. And now, people are looking at Wisconsin yet again, to see how democracy can be saved. That is what’s at stake,” said former Attorney General Eric Holder during a campaign event on Saturday for Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz.
“If you think back to 1849, women couldn’t vote, people like me couldn’t vote. … Dan Kelly is a person who supports that 1849 law … when you think about that … an 1849 law … we’re going to back to that to decide about reproductive rights in the 21st century?,” Holder asked.
Regarding fair elections, Holder said that “Wisconsin is probably the most gerrymandered state in the country,” noting that Democrats only have about 35% of the Wisconsin legislature, which he said is a direct result of the gerrymandering political lines that were redrawn in 2011 under Scott Walker and defended by Protasiewicz’s opponent Dan Kelly who had the Republican party as a client.
“Let’s go back to the old Wisconsin, the pre-Scott Walker Wisconsin where people actually have an opportunity to decide who’s going to represent them because in this gerrymandered state, you have folks who are supporting special interests against the desires of the people,” Holder said noting that electing Protasiewicz will bring justice back to the Badger state.
On Sunday, April 2, Attorney General Holder delivered a church sermon at Mt Zion Baptist Church in Madison, Wisconsin
And I am frustrated that more than half a century after Dr. King helped to pass the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 for too many Americans, the right to vote—and the assurance that one’s vote is counted fairly—remains under siege.
To me, this is the chief civil rights issue of our time—as it was in his. And in that way, our nation is not as different as it should be from the America that existed during the life of Dr. King.
Our nation’s policies are determined by those who serve in elected office. And we must make certain that these representatives accurately reflect the choices of the American electorate.
And the attacks on the fundamental rights of Wisconsinites—from extreme gerrymandering to voter suppression laws to the denial of the results of a free and fair election—make the stakes in Tuesday’s election that much higher. I truly believe this is the most important election of this year.
We all have the responsibility—not just the right—the responsibility to take part in the democratic process.
It would be a dishonor to those who marched and organized and sacrificed if people do not exercise their most fundamental right as citizens.
I believe every generation is called upon to do its part to protect our democracy—and this is our generation’s time to do its part. Complacency is not an option.
So let us rise to the challenges of our time. And, in the spirit of Dr. King, let us signal to the world that—in America today—in Wisconsin, the beating heart of the Civil Rights Movement—the pursuit of a more perfect union lives on, the march toward the Promised Land goes on, and the belief, not only that we shall overcome, but that we will truly come together as one nation, continues to push us forward.