Wisconsin judge used horses in commercials as obscene joke about opponent, campaign manager claims.

Madison— Last month, her campaign manager told a lefty podcast that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz's consultant used horses in advertising to make filthy jokes about her opponent.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday that Protasiewicz's campaign manager, Alejandro Verdin, told The Downballot podcast on Jan. 25 that her campaign operatives had heard baseless jokes at campaign focus groups and functions that her opponent, Dan Kelly, looked like a horse fornicator.

Verdin alleged Protasiewicz's marketing strategist, Ben Nuckels, included concealed horses in Kelly-attacking TV advertisements as an inside joke. Three of Protasiewicz's YouTube adverts included horses in the backdrop.

Nuckels also made a radio commercial with a western drawl talking about “Dirty Dan” riding out into the sunset while horses whinny. Verdin claimed that commercial was also a joke. “It was quite hilarious,” Verdin stated on the podcast. Kelly didn't respond to AP's Tuesday message. He told the Journal Sentinel the joke was “sick” and Wisconsinites should be disgusted.

This goes a long way towards explaining why Janet Protasiewicz’s campaign was so dishonest, undignified and lacking in respect for the office of Supreme Court justice,” Kelly told the newspaper.

A Protasiewicz campaign official said Tuesday that Verdin and Nuckels would not comment. Her Supreme Court legal clerk Ryan Birschbach forwarded inquiries to the campaign when Protasiewicz was asked to respond. Protasiewicz beat Kelly for a Supreme Court seat last April. The win gave liberals a 4-3 court majority.

Protasiewicz said on the campaign trail that she supports abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe vs. Wade verdict that allowed abortion statewide. Protasiewicz also called Republican legislative borders “rigged” during the campaign. Both efforts were rare; judge candidates usually don't announce their positions to prevent prejudice.

The leftist court majority invalidated GOP maps in December and ordered new ones from the Legislature. Wisconsin's 174-year-old abortion prohibition may be upheld by the court in the coming months. Feticide—harming a woman to kill her unborn child—was banned by a Dane County judge in September, but abortion was not. Republican appeals were filed.

Republican members want to impeach Protasiewicz for her campaign statements, but Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has backed down and it seems doubtful.