Liberal judge Rebecca Dallet’s runaway victory in a Wisconsin Supreme Court race cheered Democrats eager for more evidence their party is ready for a winning fall in midterm elections.
And Dallet’s hammering of conservative judge Michael Screnock on Tuesday prodded Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who had endorsed Screnock, to warn his fellow Republicans that more losses could be coming.
“Tonight’s results show we are at risk of a #BlueWave in WI,” Walker, who is up for re-election in November, tweeted. “Big government special interests flooded Wisconsin with distorted facts & misinformation. Next, they’ll target me and work to undo our bold reforms.”
Although the race was viewed by some as a bellwether, results of past Supreme Court elections have not consistently proven to be predictive of what will happen in November. President Donald Trump won the state by less than 1 percentage point in 2016, while Dallet thumped Screnock by double digits.
Dallet won by nearly 12 points with unofficial results nearly complete.
Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairwoman Martha Laning said the win was a warning shot to Walker, calling it a “huge loss” for him because his “endorsement, philosophy and politics were on the ballot.”
One of the Democratic challengers to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, immediately tried to raise money off the Dallet win. Randy Bryce called the Dallet win “a rallying cry for working folks.” Walker also used the results to raise money.
Dallet’s victory follows a surprising Democratic win in January in a special election for a state Senate seat held by Republicans for 17 years — an outcome that Walker said then was a “wake-up call” for his party.
Two other special legislative elections are coming this June, giving Democrats more chances to build momentum heading into the fall.
The race for a 10-year seat was nonpartisan in name only, with millions in ad spending and public endorsements from the likes of Joe Biden, Eric Holder and the National Rifle Association.
Dallet said her victory, which Democrats quickly seized on as another sign of momentum, was a rejection of special interest influence on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court.
“The candidate with the most experience in our courts and standing up for the fairness of our courts won,” she said. “I think 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.”