Judge Rebecca Dallet’s handy victory in a statewide election for a seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court is being heralded by many as the latest sign that Democrats are strongly positioned for victory in the 2018 midterm elections.
Although judicial elections in Wisconsin are technically nonpartisan, the battle lines in this and past elections were clearly drawn.
Dallet, who currently serves as a Milwaukee County Circuit judge, was backed by a constellation of national liberal groups and figures, including former Vice President Joe Biden and former Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Her opponent, Judge Michael Screnock, was appointed to his current role as a Sauk County Circuit judge by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a conservative Republican, and ran television ads touting his endorsement by the National Rifle Association.
While neither candidate was a household name, their campaigns and outside groups spent more than $2.6 million on advertising over the past few weeks in a desperate attempt to define the other while burnishing their bona fides to their political bases.
In the end, the election wasn’t even that close, with Dallet blowing out Screnock by a 56-44 margin. The romping victory cuts the conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 5-2 to 4-3.
More importantly, it also portends gloom for Wisconsin Republicans this fall. The results tend to indicate that Democratic enthusiasm is running high, at a time Walker is running for a third term as Governor and national Republicans are targeting incumbent Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin.
After Screnock’s defeat, Walker tweeted, “Tonight’s results show we are at risk of a #BlueWave in WI. The Far Left is driven by anger & hatred — we must counter it with optimism & organization. Let’s share our positive story with voters & win in November.”