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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Liberals just won a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court by a huge margin

    Liberals just won a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court by a huge margin

    Another defeat for Republicans in state elections during the Trump era.

    By Andrew Prokopandrew@vox.com Apr 3, 2018, 9:54pm EDT


    Gov. Scott Walker (R) saw his preferred candidate, Michael Screnock, lose to Rebecca Dallet in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court election Tuesday. Win McNamee/Getty

    Liberal candidate Rebecca Dallet has won election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, according to Decision Desk. Dallet defeated her conservative opponent for the open seat, Michael Screnock easily,and her victory will cut the conservative majority on the court from 5-2 to just 4-3.

    Dallet’s win is yet another example of liberal voter enthusiasm in state and local elections held during the age of Trump. And in Wisconsin specifically, it’s a rare victory for a Democratic Party that’s been beaten again and again in recent years. (The race was technically nonpartisan, but Dallet was the Democrat-backed candidate, and Screnock the conservative-backed one.)


    However, the court will remain in conservative hands for the near future. The next conservative-held seat won’t be up for election until 2020, and before that, liberals will have to defend one of their own seats next year.


    Once elected, Wisconsin Supreme Court justices serve out 10-year terms. However, if a seat should become vacant in the middle of a term, the governor can appoint a replacement justice. A new election is then scheduled for that seat in the first year when there’s no other supreme court election on the ballot (that is, two seats can’t go up for election in the same year). Tuesday’s election is for an open seat held by a conservative justice who chose to retire.


    But though these court elections are “nonpartisan,” in practice the state supreme court has become bitterly divided along ideological lines, with millions of dollars in outside spending pouring into these contests — and conservatives usually tending to come out on top.


    After many Wisconsin defeats, liberals hope they are finally turning things around


    Conservatives have held a majority on the seven-member Wisconsin Supreme Court since 2008. This proved crucial when Gov. Scott Walker (R) was sworn in in 2011, and plunged the state into an enormously bitter controversy by signing a law gutting collective bargaining rights for public employees. Liberals saw opportunity to strike back just a few months later, when a conservative supreme court justice faced reelection — ideological and interest groups on both sides poured money into the race, making it a high-stakes showdown.

    As has so often happened during the Walker years, though, liberals came up short in that 2011 contest — the conservative justice won reelection by a mere 0.4 percent margin. Walker himself then beat back a recall attempt in 2012, and saw the court uphold his collective bargaining law in 2014, before winning a full second term that fall.

    Shortly afterward, conservatives expanded their supreme court majority to 5-2 when Walker appointed Rebecca Bradley to an open seat. She won reelection to a full term in 2016. Then, in 2017, when conservative justice Annette Ziegler was up, liberals were still dazed from Donald Trump’s shocking victory in the state and didn’t even bother to put up a candidate — Ziegler won a second ten-year term unopposed.

    But this time around, when conservative justice Michael Gableman decided not to run for another term, Wisconsin liberals didn’t let the opportunity slip by. Dallet — a judge for the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, and a former assistant district attorney and adjunct law professor — ran for the open seat, and won.


    And that’s not Democrats’ only recent Wisconsin victory. This January, the party picked up a state senate seat in a district Trump won by 17 points, and overperformed (but lost) in a state assembly special election in a very conservative area. Walker responded with alarm, tweeting that the results should be “a wake up call for Republicans.” The governor then absurdly tried to not hold more special elections this year — clearly afraid of losing — until court rulings forced him to abandon that effort.


    There’s a high-stakes US Senate contest in Wisconsin this fall


    Democrats don’t really have any top-tier US House targets in Wisconsin this fall — Speaker Paul Ryan is being challenged by viral fundraiser Randy “Ironstache” Bryce, and Rep. Glenn Grothman (R) is on some target lists, but they’re both considered reaches for the party.

    As for the governorship, where Walker is running for a third term, the Democratic field is currently inchoate — no candidate polled higher than 18 percent in a recent Marquette primary poll. (The August 14 primary is still a few months off.)


    So the marquee Wisconsin contest in the 2018 midterms is instead the Senate race, in which Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) is running for a second term. State senator Leah Vukmir and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson are squaring off in a tense primary contest for the Republican nomination. (Nicholson recently drew some national attention because his parents donated thousands of dollars to Baldwin.)


    Baldwin is a staunch progressive representing a state Trump (narrowly) won, and conservative groups are desperate to defeat her, spending far disproportionately on the race compared to other 2018 contests. If Baldwin should lose, that would make it incredibly difficult for Democrats to retake the Senate, along with replacing a leading liberal with a solid conservative. But Dallet’s victory, and Democrats’ general overperformance in Trump era state elections, gives the party hope that Baldwin will survive.

    https://www.vox.com/2018/4/3/1719506...ection-results

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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