By Ethan Duran
On the eve of Election Day in Wisconsin, conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Dan Kelly flew across the state in a private jet owned by anti-abortion advocates tied to Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC.)
The jet belonged to Paul and Elizabeth Keppeler, the latter is the sister-and-law of Karl Schmidt, CEO of Green Bay-based Belmark, who served as a board member of WMC as recently as 2019, Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) officials said. Kelly’s campaign described the couple as “supporters,” DPW officials added.
The news was first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Belmark was founded by Elizabeth Keppeler’s father Bruce Bell. The WMC made more than $5 million in outside expenditures to Kelly’s campaign for Supreme Court, DPW officials said.
The Keppelers made significant contributions to anti-abortion groups through a family foundation, and one recipient was a “crisis pregnancy center” in southwest Florida, DPW officials added.
Polls in Wisconsin opened at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and will stay open until 8 p.m. for the Wisconsin Supreme Court and other offices such as Wisconsin Court of Appeals District 1, Milwaukee Municipal Court Branch 2 and Wisconsin’s 8th District Senate to name a few.
While Kelly spent four days touring parts of rural Wisconsin, Protasiewicz was grounded with a respiratory illness, according to reports.
As of publication, Dan Kelly’s campaign has not responded to request for comment.
The WMC in late March asked TV stations across Wisconsin to pull two of Dan Kelly’s campaign ads that were criticized as “false” and “harassing,” a spokesperson for the Protasiewicz campaign said. The campaign sent letters to TV stations demanding they stop airing the ad, which it said WMC paid for.