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Allegra Kirkland

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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A woman who carried out a 2015 affair with Gov. Eric Greitens (R) told legislative investigators that he coerced her into unwanted sexual contact while she wept on the floor of his basement. The woman’s testimony was included in a highly-anticipated Missouri House committee report released Wednesday evening.

The 25-page report includes graphic, disturbing claims about a March 2015 encounter at Greitens’ St. Louis home. According to the woman, who testified under oath, Greitens held her down in a “bear hug,” fondling her while she wept “uncontrollably,” before pulling out his penis and putting it near her face.

The woman said she proceeded to give him oral sex because she thought “that would allow me to leave” and feared for her “physical self.”

In addition to these shocking new claims, the woman testified about previously surfaced allegations that Greitens slapped her and threatened to blackmail her with a nude photo that he took of her without her consent.

The governor has admitted to carrying out an extramarital affair with the woman but adamantly denied allegations that he took a nonconsensual nude photo and threatened to release it if she discussed their relationship publicly. He has remained defiant throughout this public, messy scandal, pledging to remain in office.

In a brief public statement just before the House report’s release, Greitens referred to the findings as “tabloid trash.”

“This is exactly like what’s happening with witch hunts in Washington D.C.,” Greitens said, using President Trump’s favorite term for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The seven-person legislative committee, made up of five Republicans and two Democrats, said in the report that they found the woman to be a “credible” witness.

The committee first convened in March after Greitens was indicted on a felony invasion of privacy charge for the alleged blackmail. That trial is set to begin in mid-May.

According to the woman’s testimony, she and the governor engaged in a series of sexual encounters in the spring and summer of 2015. In the woman’s description, some aspects appeared to be nonconsensual.

She told the committee that during that first meeting at his home in March 2015, Greitens led her to his basement, bound her hands to exercise equipment, and blindfolded her. He proceeded to spit water in her mouth, rip her shirt open, and take a photo of her without asking permission, threatening to release the photo if she ever told anyone what had happened.

When she told him she was angry about the photograph, he told her, “You have to understand, I’m running for office, and people will get me, and I have to have some sort of thing to protect myself,” according to her testimony. She told the committee Greitens promised he had deleted it.

The panel also heard testimony from the woman’s ex-husband and from two of the woman’s friends, who said she told them similar stories about the governor at the time.

All day Wednesday, as lawmakers were briefed on the report’s contents and huddled behind closed doors, a trickle of damning remarks flowed from the Capitol in Jefferson City.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D) told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the conduct described in the report was “embarrassing,” “deplorable” and “very sexual in nature.” House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty called for the governor to resign immediately, while GOP Missouri political operatives told reporters that the committee’s findings were as graphic and damaging as they feared.

Greitens’ attorneys had tried to delay the report’s release until after the felony trial begins on May 14. Their efforts were unsuccessful, but the committee extended the deadline to release its final report and recommendation on what action the legislature should take until May 18.

Many Democratic lawmakers and a handful of Republicans have for weeks called for the governor to step down, saying the dual investigations from the House and St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner are distracting from the state government’s work.

This week, for example, the House canceled most of its business on Wednesday and all activities Thursday. Though no official explanation was provided, some lawmakers muttered to local media that the decision was made in order to prepare for the impact of the committee’s report.

Greitens’ attorneys have sought to cast doubt on his former lover’s credibility, claiming in a court filing last weekend that she testified that she may have only dreamed up or imagined Greitens taking the photograph of her.

The woman’s lawyer accused Greitens of cherry-picking and mischaracterizing details from her nine-hour testimony. In a statement, her legal team reiterated that the governor admitted to her “on multiple occasions” that he took the nonconsensual photo and threatened to release it.

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The National Rifle Association is rebuffing a request from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) for more details on whether it received Russian money aimed at influencing U.S. elections.

Two previous exchanges of letters between Wyden and the NRA revealed that the gun group accepts donations from foreign entities and moves money between its various accounts. But in a letter to Wyden sent Tuesday, the NRA said it had provided all the facts required to satisfy any “legitimate concerns.”

“Given the extraordinarily time-consuming and burdensome nature of your requests, we must respectfully decline to engage in this beyond the clear answers we have already provided,” NRA General Counsel John Frazer wrote in an April 10 letter.

Wyden’s office expressed its disappointment in a statement: “After three letters, the NRA continually, and specifically avoided detailing what measures it takes to vet donations, including from shell companies, a known means for Russians to funnel money into the United States.”

Wyden had asked for an in-depth account of how the group used the foreign donations made since 2015 and how it transfers funds between its accounts, among other queries. The FBI is reportedly probing whether the NRA received Russian money to boost Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

In the April 10 letter, the NRA said it received a total of $2,512.85 from Russians or U.S. citizens living in Russia between 2015 and the present. $525 of that came from contributions from two individuals, while the rest came from “about 23” other individuals for costs like membership dues and magazine subscriptions.

The NRA had previously only acknowledged receiving a donation from one Russian: Aleksandr Torshin, a Russian government banker with close ties to the gun group. The NRA has said it received under $1,000 from Torshin for his lifetime membership payment. In the latest letter, the group said it was “reviewing our responsibilities with respect to” Torshin after he was added to a list of Russians under U.S. sanction last week.

Treasury Department regulations “generally prohibit” U.S. persons from dealing with sanctioned individuals.

Wyden will refer his correspondence with the NRA to the Federal Elections Commission, an aide for the senator told TPM. The FEC has received a complaint from a liberal group to launch a full investigation into the NRA’s links with Russia, and is conducting a preliminary review of the facts.

Read the NRA’s full letter below.

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The criminal case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), who is accused of attempting to blackmail a woman with whom he had an affair, has taken a turn for the bizarre.

Greitens’ attorneys claimed in a Sunday court filing that the woman testified that she may have only dreamed up or imagined the core allegation of the felony charge: that in 2015, the governor took a nonconsensual photograph of her after tying her up and partially undressing her, with the intent to transmit it.

But on Monday night, the woman’s lawyer struck back, accusing Greitens’ team of mischaracterizing his client’s nine-hour testimony. Greitens admitted to the woman “on multiple occasions” that he took the photo without her permission and threatened to release it, attorney Scott Simpson said in a statement provided to TPM.

Greitens, who took office in 2017, has said he engaged in the extramarital affair, but has denied that he took the photo or sought to silence his former lover.

The latest drama stems from the woman’s Friday deposition at the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Per the defense’s Sunday motion, she testified that she could not say under oath that she saw Greitens held up a phone.

“I don’t know if it’s because I’m remembering it through a dream or I — I’m not sure, but yes, I feel like I saw it after it happened, but I haven’t spoken about it because of that,” the woman said, according to the filing.

The defense accused St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who is prosecuting the case, of neglecting to turn over previous, similar statements the woman had made.

In response, Simpson, the woman’s lawyer, called for the release of the complete transcript of her testimony.

“Gov. Greitens needs to take responsibility for his actions and be honest about the fact that he took my client’s photograph without her consent,” Simpson continued, accusing Greitens of attempting to “try this case in the media.”

Gardner’s office had a similar response on Monday, accusing the defense of filing “frivolous motions” and playing “political games” in order to “deflect public attention from other matters facing the Governor,” according to the Post-Dispatch.

This messy state of affairs has clouded the governor’s brief tenure in office, prompting calls for his impeachment and a GOP-led state House investigation into the allegations against him. The committee conducting the probe is set to release its preliminary findings this week, and to recommend action once the investigation concludes on May 18. The governor’s felony trial is slated to start four days earlier.

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A University of Alabama student group that invited white nationalist Jared Taylor to campus insists it just wants to ensure “all social and political views, regardless of how offensive they may appear to the general public” are presented to the student body.

Students for America First (SFAF) “neither endorses nor condemns Mr. Taylor’s work,” the group said in a statement about the April 19 event.

SFAF has not taken the same steps to distance itself from another controversial figure: openly anti-Semitic Wisconsin GOP candidate Paul Nehlen. The group’s social media feeds are full of messages promoting the politician, whom SFAF endorsed.

The ongoing support for Nehlen is striking, given that he was excommunicated by most of the far-right earlier this year. Breitbart News cut ties, calling his increasingly offensive tweets proof that Nehlen had “gone off the deep end.” Nehlen responded by going on the radio show of former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke and calling his expulsion proof that “Jews control the media.” The “pro-white” Republican, who neo-Nazi figurehead Andrew Anglin deemed “the leader of the American Nationalist movement,” was also permanently banned from Twitter in February for repeatedly violating the terms of services with his inflammatory posts.

This has not stopped SFAF from advocating for Nehlen, who the group called one of “our own people” in a recent post on Gab, a Twitter alternative popular among the loose amalgamation of white nationalists, anti-Semites and trolls that compose the alt-right. (Nehlen has been banned from Gab, too).

SFAF even invited Nehlen to campus for an event originally slated to take place this week. In promotional material, the group benignly referred to him as a “self-made entrepreneur, Fortune 500 CEO, inventor, citizen legislator and future Representative from Wisconsin.” An online listing for Nehlen’s speech on the University of Alabama’s site said it had been cancelled.

Other messages on SFAF’s Gab and Twitter feeds play on themes popular among the alt-right. The group shared a message alleging that white people are going to be drugged and brainwashed into “accepting ‘ethnic diversity.’” A number of posts reference the demise of “Western civilization” thanks to undocumented immigration.

SFAF did not respond to a list of questions provided by TPM. After Jared Taylor’s invitation was announced, the group sent over a 300-word statement asserting its commitment to preserving the First Amendment by hosting individuals with “‘controversial’ views.” The statement referred to Taylor, who is known for promoting the idea that black and Hispanics are genetically inferior, as a “noted Right-wing intellectual” who “we look forward” to hosting.

The group’s invitation has been roundly condemned by the school administration and other campus organizations.

University of Alabama president Stuart Bell called Taylor’s ideology “counter to our institutional values,” while the school’s NAACP chapter said that SFAF’s right to free speech doesn’t mean that the group should endorse “bigotry and racism.”

“We look to our administrators to protect the inclusivity, safety, and well being of minority students,” the group said in a tweet. “White supremacy is a dangerous and hurtful voice to give power to.”

The university’s College Republicans chapter sent TPM a statement calling Taylor’s views “disgusting.”

“We are infuriated that any student organization would bring him to our university,” the organization said.

SFAF acknowledged that their own faculty advisor, statistics professor Bruce Barrett, stepped down from his post over the invitation, acknowledging in a tweet that “he was not fully informed of Jared Taylor’s polarizing statements on race and identity.”

Barrett did not respond to TPM’s requests for comment.

Many of SFAF’s public statements simply affirm the Trump administration’s positions on building a southern border wall and forcibly expelling undocumented immigrants, and the group is hardly the first to invite an open white nationalist to speak on campus. Taylor has made “the case for white identity” to students at Michigan State University and Towson University.

Alt-right figureheads like Richard Spencer, who recently abandoned his own college tour, and Identity Europe have explicitly advocated for reaching out to young students as a means of recruiting and indoctrinating them early on. Groups like SFAF, in turn, frame inviting speakers like Taylor as a way of pushing the envelope and rejecting “politically correct” culture.

As Brian Levin, director of California State University’s center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, put it: “We’re a splintered society and trust in the institutions that held us together, like academia, have hit multi-decade lows. One of the ways we can be anti-elitist and anti-establishment is to invite someone from the outside. And that’s part of the marketing that’s been done: you’re not hearing the full story, so invite this controversial speaker.”

“It’s a very brazen, in-your-face, mainstreamed white nationalism,” Levin continued. “This invitation is just another star in that constellation, saying white nationalism is now in that night sky of sociopolitical activity in the United States. And that’s scary.”

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A busy week brought the first jail sentence to emerge from the Trump-Russia probe. Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan was ordered to spend 30 days in jail and pay $20,000 for lying to Special Counsel Robert Mueller about conversations he had with Rick Gates, a relatively stiff sentence given that prosecutors weren’t specifically recommending prison time.

We learned that the President is currently a “subject” but not a criminal “target” in the investigation — an assessment that could easily change. Significantly, Mueller told Trump’s legal team that he is preparing a report on the President’s actions in office and possible obstruction of justice.

The probe into Paul Manafort appears quite active months after his indictments in two federal courts. Prosecutors revealed that they issued subpoenas this spring to obtain phone records linked to Manafort and related to “ongoing investigations.” Their list of warrants shows they seized bank accounts from three different financial institutions.

Mueller’s team also disclosed that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein explicitly authorized them to investigate whether Manafort colluded with Russian government officials while working with Ukrainian politicians. Notably, the Rosenstein memo included a redacted list of other individuals and matters Mueller is specifically tasked with examining. This memo undercut Manafort’s claim that Mueller had overstepped in prosecuting him. Separately, The Guardian surfaced details about Manafort’s work in the U.S. on behalf of Ukraine’s Russia-aligned former president, Victor Yanukovich, including a “black ops” PR campaign between 2011 and 2013 denigrating Yanukovich’s opponents.

Mueller’s investigators reportedly questioned an unnamed Trump Organization associate involved in overseas deals, showing up at his home with subpoenas for electronic records and sworn testimony. Many of their questions focused on Michael Cohen. Former Trump business partner Felix Sater, meanwhile, was interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

CNN reported Mueller’s investigators have detained and searched Russian oligarchs as they transited through the US, questioning them and scanning their electronic devices. These all signal active examination of potential collusion or illicit financing of Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Separately, the New York Times reported that George Nader, a UAE royal family adviser who arranged a meeting between Eric Prince and a Putin-linked Russian financier, has longstanding ties to Russia and Putin’s inner circle. 

We learned this week that, on the same day in August 2016 that Roger Stone told InfoWars that “devastating” disclosures about the Clinton Foundation were forthcoming, he emailed former campaign advisor Sam Nunberg saying he’d dined with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Stone told TPM that the email was a joke, but the special counsel is probing the exchange.

At the end of the week, the U.S. slapped sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs and 17 Russian government officials, including banker Alexander Torshin, who the FBI is reportedly investigating for illegally funneling funds to the NRA to help Trump.

In a speech, outgoing national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the U.S. had “failed to impose sufficient costs” on Russia. Trump, meanwhile, claimed that “nobody’s been tougher on Russia” than him.

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A key figure was included on the Treasury Department’s newly released list of Russian individuals facing U.S. sanctions: Russian banker and lifetime National Rifle Association member Aleksandr Torshin.

Torshin, deputy governor of the state-owned central bank, is reportedly under FBI investigation for illegally funneling donations to the NRA to support Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

He is among the seven Russian oligarchs, 12 Russian companies and 17 senior Russian government officials hit with sanctions.

Per the Treasury Department’s release, those individuals and entities’ U.S. assets are now frozen, they cannot travel to the U.S. and “U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealings with them.”

Torshin has for years cultivated a close relationship with NRA leadership, attending the gun group’s annual conventions and hosting their delegations in Moscow. He unsuccessfully tried to leverage those NRA connections to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2016 campaign.

The NRA has acknowledged receiving a donation of less than $1,000 from Torshin for his lifetime membership. The gun group insists it never used foreign contributions for election-related activities, and did not respond to TPM’s inquiries about whether it received additional donations from Torshin or other Russian individuals.

Democrats celebrated the imposition of sanctions.

“By isolating Putin’s regime and financially punishing his support base among the oligarchs, we may be able to induce a change in Moscow’s behavior,” Rep. Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said in a statement, saying the sanctions of individuals like Torshin “will send a strong message to the Kremlin.”

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The handful of states under Democratic control in the Trump era are going all-in. As I reported today, in the bluest states, legislators are pushing big-ticket progressive legislation with a clear focus: increasing access to the ballot.

Democrats, after all, can’t push back against Republican policy priorities if they can’t vote, or if their votes don’t count.

Washington state, whose state government was shifted fully within Democratic control thanks to a state Senate special election victory last November, is the best example. The state’s “Access to Democracy” package of legislation included such measures as same-day registration, pre-registration of 16 and 17-year-olds, enhanced campaign finance disclosure requirements, and, most critically, automatic voter registration (AVR).

Through AVR, anyone who obtains a driver’s license or state ID from the DMV will automatically be eligible to vote. Research by New York University’s Brennan Center has found that AVR “boosts registration rates, cleans up the rolls, makes voting more convenient, and reduces the potential for voter fraud, all while lowering costs.”

The impact of this legislation is expected to be immediately felt. Activists estimate that nearly a million eligible Washington state voters aren’t registered. Washington state Senate President Karen Keiser (D) told me the package will be “tremendous in terms of turnout and participation in our elections.”

Progressive activist and writer Sean McElwee credited grassroots activism for the push towards securing these sort of laws.

“It’s not happening executively,” he stressed, pointing to a survey he conducted that found voting rights to be “the single most popular issue” among Democrats’ active base. “What we’re seeing across the country is progressive activists getting this stuff on the ballot.”

AVR may soon be coming to a state near you. Ten states and Washington, D.C., have already approved it, and 19 states introduced AVR proposals in 2018.

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In the year and a half since President Donald Trump’s victory, progressives have sprung into action at the state level, scoring a string of special election victories and triggering widespread expectations of a blue wave—or even a tsunami—in the 2018 midterms.

In some blue pockets of the country, we’re already seeing what that wave could yield.

Washington state has passed some 300 bills since securing full Democratic control of the legislature in a special election last November. Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has signed many of those into law, including a voting rights package that includes same-day registration and pre-registration for teenagers. Meanwhile, New Jersey, which attained trifecta Democratic control of the statehouse and governor’s mansion after Democrat Phil Murphy succeeded Chris Christie, is poised to enact the nation’s most sweeping equal pay legislation.

Still, Republicans maintain an overwhelming advantage at the state level. They have trifecta control in 26 states compared to just eight for Democrats, with significant supermajorities in many of those legislatures. The focus for most national progressive groups this year is simply chipping away at those numbers and, where they can, flipping chambers or governorships to break the GOP’s hold.

Automatic voter registration is the dream for blue states in the Trump era. Read a reporter’s notebook from Allegra Kirkland on this topic »

But the undeniable momentum on the Democratic side has activists and lawmakers dreaming of more than just reversing Republican policies. In blue strongholds, progressives are using this moment to pass legislation they’ve long wanted and create bulwarks against Trump administration policies.

Jessica Post, executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, called Washington’s 60-day session “historically incredible” and vowed that Democrats would continue to “raise hell” on voting rights and other core progressive issues wherever possible.

“I think for us it showed what can happen when we flip a Dem chamber,” Post told TPM in a phone interview. “They went into session in 2018 banning bump stocks, banning LGBT conversion therapy. There’s so much progress that can be made in the states when you flip these chambers—and fast.”

Karen Keiser, Washington state Senate President Pro Tempore, agreed that “the Senate’s hair was on fire this year.” State Senate Democrats spent the five years they were “shut out in the minority” perfecting key pieces of legislation, and, as soon as the chamber flipped, “decided we were going to go for the gold and get it done” on issues from equal pay to net neutrality to sexual harassment.

Like the Democratic attorneys general who pledged to fight against Trump’s agenda after his election, Keiser sees it as the responsibility of states like Washington to work in conjunction with likeminded legislatures to “protect our citizens from the deconstruction of the federal system of standards.”

With Trump ally Christie out of office, New Jersey has taken steps to do so, joining other legislatures in a multi-state program to counter the Trump EPA’s decision to weaken rules reducing carbon pollution from cars. Though power struggles between Gov. Phil Murphy and senate leadership have reportedly impeded the sort of wholesale reforms seen in Washington, the Garden State has vastly expanded the state’s medical marijuana program, will soon enact stringent protections against pay discrimination, and is moving forward with a slew of bills to firm up the state’s already-strict gun laws.

New York appears to be next in line. Democrats are expected to prevail in special elections scheduled for the end of April, securing trifecta control by winning a majority in the state Senate. The DLCC’s Jessica Post is hopeful that the end of a power-sharing agreement between state Republicans and the breakaway faction of Democrats known as the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), who caucused with them, will allow truly progressive legislation to be enacted.

Activist, journalist and No IDC New York steering committee member Sean McElwee told TPM he was skeptical of the “turncoat” IDC legislators and is still backing primary challengers to unseat them. But he feels “confident” that Democrats will take control of the Senate, and that same-day and automatic voter registration will be at the top of lawmakers’ priority list once they do.

“You’re going to see, in every state where Democrats gain, these major pushes for voting rights,” McElwee said, noting the work of grassroots activists on this issue. “That’s something that can really only be won at the state level.”

This true-blue push in certain states is far from the norm. As Ben Wexler-Waite, communications director for Democratic super PAC Forward Majority, pointed out, the majority of resources and funds from national groups is going toward simply making “significant inroads on the overwhelming Republican control of state legislatures,” where Democrats “just have so much ground to make up.”

But the Republican State Leadership Committee, which did not respond to TPM’s request for comment, has signaled alarm about the “elevated threat level” in places like Washington and Virginia.

“We must be prepared for the Democrats’ enhanced organization and spending abilities,” RSLC President Matt Walker said in a November 2017 statement after Democrats won big in those states.

The DLCC’s Post said that it’s possible to imagine trifecta Democratic control in states like Colorado, Maine and New Hampshire. Even New Mexico and, eventually, Minnesota and Virginia, could be in play, she said.

The midterms are unlikely to see a mass consolidation of Democratic power. But in the places where they’re able, expect them to dig in.

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Twice this spring, lawmakers in the Tennessee Assembly have tried to promote resolutions condemning neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Both times those efforts have failed.

The second attempt was abandoned just this week, after a Republican lawmaker unsuccessfully tried to alter the motion’s language to make it more palatable to his caucus.

House Republican Caucus Chairman Rep. Ryan Williams’ resolution reworked one put forth by Democratic Rep. John Ray Clemmons, which died in mid-March after the three Republican members of a House subcommittee declined to offer motions to discuss it.

At the time, State Government Subcommittee member Rep. Bob Ramsey (R) told TPM that his panel supported the “intent and philosophy” of the measure but had concerns about language asking law enforcement to consider the groups “domestic terrorist organizations.” Such requests may “seem simple” but have sparked tense debate among lawmakers, Ramsey told TPM.

Williams stripped that language from a second version of the resolution introduced last week that was otherwise nearly identical.

But on Monday night, the day it was set to go before the Delayed Bills Committee, Williams asked that the measure be withdrawn from consideration. Williams told the Tennessean he’d received “additional feedback” from his fellow Republicans that needed to be incorporated into the resolution, which was “too narrow.”

Williams did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for additional information on their outstanding concerns, but told the Tennessean he was committed to hammering out wording acceptable to all parties.

If passed, the resolution would require the House to “strongly denounce and oppose” the racist, violent bigotry of these groups, and to send a copy to President Donald Trump, Congress, and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, according to the Tennessean.

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All eyes will be on Wisconsin Tuesday, where a typically lackluster state Supreme Court election has blossomed into an object of national curiosity.

A win for Rebecca Dallet, a Democrat endorsed by big names like former Attorney General Eric Holder and former Vice President Joe Biden, would be interpreted as further evidence of building progressive momentum in the state. A victory for Republican Michael Screnock, meanwhile, would prompt a sigh of relief from Gov. Scott Walker (R) and the GOP-controlled legislature.

Both sides desperately want to secure the 10-year seat on the ostensibly non-partisan, powerful court. Conservatives hope to maintain their current 5-2 advantage, while Democrats hope to nudge the balance down to 4-3, giving them more of a voice.

Stakes are particularly high thanks to Democrats’ surprise win in a January special state Senate election, and Walker’s failed effort to block two other special election races from taking place.

This national attention has prompted predictable attacks from both sides.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party has lashed out at Screnock as a tool of Walker’s GOP, criticizing his endorsement by the National Rifle Association and the hundreds of thousands of dollars he’s received from “right-wing special interest groups and the Republican Party.”

Republicans have highlighted the endorsement and donations from Holder’s redistricting group as evidence that Washington, D.C. interests are trying to interfere in Wisconsin’s affairs.

Brandon Scholz, a longtime GOP consultant based in Madison, told TPM in a recent interview that Holder was just trying to “gain a little notoriety” and “get a higher profile in Wisconsin” by involving himself in the race.

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