Less than an hour after the polls closed Tuesday, Dan Kelly stepped to the microphone and conceded the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice in a speech that stunned observers in both political parties across the country.
He called Justice-elect Janet Protasiewicz a “serial liar” and her campaign “beneath contempt,” and he wished Wisconsin the best of luck “because I think it’s going to need it.”
Kelly did not call to congratulate Protasiewicz, according to sources with both campaigns.
Here’s what some are saying.
Former Republican National Convention Chair Michael Steele ripped the speech on Twitter saying Kelly, who lost by double digits and for the second time, was in no position to lash out.
The Talking Points Memo, a liberal politics website, called the speech “a lengthy, emotional whine.”
Dan Kelly Throws Emotional Tantrum After Losing Wisconsin Supreme Court Race
After the race was called, Donald Trump took to his social media platform Truth Social to say that Kelly was guaranteed to lose by not seeking his endorsement.
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
Many on social media said Kelly “went full-on Trump” in his concession speech, something that some pundits and commentators support.
MAGA Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate MELTS DOWN after losing | BREAKING: MAGA Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Dan Kelly just went full-on Trump, refusing to concede and attacking the voters: “The people of… | By Brian Tyler Cohen | Facebook
Right-wing political commentator and self-proclaimed theocratic fascist Matt Walsh responded to a video of the speech on Twitter saying “very well said.”
In Georgia, radio host Alan Sanders said Kelly made a “particular effective, yet ominous, concession speech about the direction our nation is heading…”
But in Wisconsin, radio hosts decried the speech.
“When you behave the way he did, and you are so ungracious, it’s a reflection of your character,” 620WTMJ radio host John Mecure said. Conservative host Steve Scaffidi retweeted Mecure’s comments on Twitter.
Former Milwaukee conservative talk radio host Charlie Skyes tweeted sarcastically, “Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Dan Kelly keeping it classy.”
Bill O’Reilly, a conservative commentator, called the speech “the most bitter concession speech,” writing that Kelly described the “ultra-liberal winner as a serial liar and worse.”
Former GOP strategist Cheri Jacobus said the speech was “proving conclusively that Wisconsin voters got it right.” Kurt Bardella, a Democrat strategist, said the speech put Kelly’s “judicial temperament on display.”
Lastly, University of North Carolina Professor and New York Times columnist Tressie McMillan Cottom called Kelly and his speech a “nasty piece of cornbread.”
The race shattered national records for spending in a judicial contest and received national attention because it likely will impact Wisconsin’s abortion law, and its legislative maps.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to congratulate Protasiewicz on flipping the court’s ideological balance to liberals.
In the Washington Post, a columnist wrote that Protasiewicz’s victory puts Trump-aligned Republicans in a bind and reflects the importance of abortion in future elections.
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Similarly, in the New York Times, former Journal Sentinel reporter Reid Epstein wrote that the victory showed a unified left could be an issue for Republicans.
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