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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


Liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz has rejected at least four speaking requests to debate her conservative opponent, Dan Kelly, ahead of the April 4 Supreme Court election. So far, Protasiewicz officially declined to participate in American Constitution Society and WISN-TV debates, as well as events at the Milwaukee Press Club and Carroll University.

However, Protasiewicz has agreed to appear with Kelly on March 21 for the State Bar of Wisconsin debate in Madison, in addition to other engagements such as attending forums and meeting newspaper editorial boards.

Some experts have suggested that Protasiewicz’s decision to decline debate invitations could be strategic. “When a candidate has a huge spending advantage and is leading in the campaign, they may be unwilling to take the risk of the unpredictable environment of a debate,” said Anthony Chergosky, a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse political scientist.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Wisconsin State Journal Wisconsin Supreme Court debate set for late March after Janet Protasiewicz declines several others

WisPolitics Kelly campaign: American Constitution Society debate cancelled

WISN Protasiewicz declines WISN-TV Supreme Court debate

Milwaukee Press Club Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Daniel Kelly to speak at newsmaker luncheon

The 5 Riders Carroll University general election candidate forum

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel In Wisconsin’s nationally watched Supreme Court race, candidate Janet Protasiewicz agrees to 1 televised debate, skips other public forums

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Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.