MADISON, Wis. - Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General under the Obama administration, was in Madison on Friday, encouraging University of Wisconsin-Madison students to vote for Supreme Court candidate Judge Rebecca Dallet.
Less than three weeks before the election, the race is getting national attention.
"Judge Dallet strikes me as the kind of judge who will inject that degree of compassion, rationality into the system, as opposed to her opponent, who is supported by the gun lobby and those who want to take us back," Holder told a crowd of young voters.
The race is between Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock, who is backed by Republicans and the National Rifle Association, and Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet, with the support of Democrats and more than 200 judges.
Holder has given Dallet's campaign $140,000 for media ads through the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
He said he is supporting multiple candidates across the country who he believes could have the biggest impact on gerrymandering and the redistricting in 2021.
"Governors always matter, state legislators always matter, but then there are these down ballot races that we have identified as important in the process and the Supreme Court here in Wisconsin is one of those places," Holder said.
The race, meant to be nonpartisan, is being compared to pivotal Democratic wins across the country, including Rep. Conor Lamb's win in Pennsylvania this week.
Rachel Maddow called it the "next local election to get a ton of national attention."
"Objectively speaking, I don't think this is the race to watch. It'll be an interesting race. It will be a race that shows how energized the left is but how mobilized the right is as well," said Ryan Owens, a political science professor at UW.
But Owens said he doesn't believe this race will fit the national narrative that Democrats are going to sweep important races.
"The narrative about this being a national tide, I'm not convinced yet, but we'll see," Owens said.
On Friday, the Republican Party of Wisconsin called for an investigation into Dallet's fundraising while on the bench.
"Fairness and equality before the court are cornerstones of the judiciary, and Rebecca Dallet's use of her court calendar as a fundraising operation calls both of those, and her judgment, into question. Rebecca Dallet needs to immediately explain the disturbing trend of hearing cases while cashing the checks of those who come before her on the bench," said the party in a statement.
Holder told students it will take record numbers to "overcome an unfair system" and elect Dallet. He hopes young people will "change the direction of this nation."
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