Wisconsin media should ask Daniel Kelly why he’s campaigning with a QAnon conspiracy theorist

Kelly is campaigning with QAnon conspiracy theorist Scott Presler ahead of April’s Wisconsin Supreme Court general election

kelly and presler local news

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Judge Daniel Kelly is campaigning with right-wing social media influencer Scott Presler, a January 6 insurrectionist who helped organize “Stop the Steal” events around the 2020 election and has promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory. While local outlets have pressed Kelly about Presler’s ties to “Stop the Steal,” they have not mentioned Presler’s promotion of QAnon.

Kelly is one of two candidates vying for an open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 4. As Media Matters previously reported, Kelly has a long track record of extremism — which local media did not adequately contextualize during the primary election. During his previous term on the Supreme Court, he argued that same-sex marriage undermined democracy and compared abortion to murder. In the aftermath of the 2020 election, Kelly also advised state-level GOP officials who plotted to send fake electors to Washington as part of a scheme to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election.

In a campaign fundraising video uploaded to Kelly’s Facebook and Twitter accounts on March 22, Presler endorsed Kelly and encouraged viewers to “chip in whatever you can” to Kelly’s campaign.

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Citation From a video uploaded to Judge Daniel Kelly's Twitter account on March 22, 2023

This isn’t the first time that Kelly has been seen with Presler. The conspiracy theorist has been in Wisconsin promoting Kelly for weeks, including at a March 15 fundraiser dinner.

Presler has a history of supporting far-right causes and conspiracy theories. Following the 2020 presidential election, Presler helped organize election-denying “Stop the Steal” rallies. At a protest outside the Pennsylvania Capitol he led people in a chant calling for politicians to “Stop the Steal” and “audit the vote.” Presler also attended the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. What’s more, Media Matters previously documented that Presler promoted QAnon in dozens of instances on his Instagram account.


On Thursday evening, the Associated Press reported that Kelly was “OK with Jan. 6 participant” Scott Presler. That report — as well as subsequent reports from PBS Wisconsin, Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, and other local news outlets — noted Kelly's apparent comfort associating with an insurrection organizer. In response to questions about Presler’s involvement at the insurrection, Kelly replied that he was “not really familiar with his background. But what I can say, I appreciate a great deal the work that he’s doing here in Wisconsin. I think it is invaluable.”

Notably, none of these reports highlighted Presler's promotion of the dangerous QAnon conspiracy theory.

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Citation From the March 24, 2023, edition of WJFW's Newswatch 12 Morning News

Several other right-wing media figures have boosted Kelly’s campaign in the lead-up to the April 4 election, including Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk and Julaine Appling, president of the anti-abortion Christian group Wisconsin Family Council.