- Joshua Roberts/Reuters
- Liberal Rebecca Dallet clobbered conservative Michael Screnock in their race for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat.
- Dallet is the first non-incumbent liberal to win election to the court in 23 years.
- The state’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, raised the alarm about a potential “blue wave” this fall, calling on conservatives to donate to his re-election campaign.
Liberal judge Rebecca Dallet clobbered conservative Michael Screnock in their race for a seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, raising alarms bells among Republicans just months away from the midterm elections.
Dallet, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge, is the first non-incumbent liberal to be elected to the state’s Supreme Court in 23 years – a sign of the state’s newly engaged Democratic base. Six of the court’s seven seats will now be filled by women, making it the most female-dominated state Supreme Court in the country.
Both candidates, running without party affiliations, accused the other of being backed by “special interests.”
Dallet, who will replace outgoing conservative justice Michael Gableman, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that her win is a sign of “Wisconsin voters standing up to special interests.”
“People are tired of what’s been going on in our state in terms of the money coming in to buy these elections and people spoke out tonight,” she told the Associated Press.
And Screnock blamed his loss on “tremendous outside influence from liberal special interest groups that were willing to say and spend anything to elect their preferred candidate to the bench.”
Screnock received $400,000 from the state’s Republican party – the most the group has ever spent on a Supreme Court candidate.
Dallet attracted national attention with endorsements from prominent Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Holder’s advocacy group, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, and allied groups spent $500,000 on Dallet’s campaign.
And her win narrows the conservative majority on the court from 5-2 to 4-3.
Wisconsin’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, took to Twitter to express his concern about Dallet’s win and to encourage voters to donate to his re-election campaign.
“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,” Walker wrote.
He went on, “Big government special interests flooded Wisconsin with distorted facts & misinformation. Next, they’ll target me and work to undo our bold reforms.”
Walker, who is running for a third term, touted his own achievements in office and warned that a “#BlueWave” would jeopardize “balanced budgets, collective bargaining reforms, $8B in tax cuts, welfare reform & more.” And he has already begun running an aggressive campaign, fundraising around the country for other Republicans and building his base of support.
Wisconsin’s GOP was also hit with a Democratic win in a state Senate special election in January, which Walker described as a “a wake-up call for Republicans in Wisconsin.”