The dominating victory by a liberal candidate in Wisconsin's Supreme Court race emboldened Democrats deflated by years of defeats, pushing RepublicanGov. Scott Walker to issue a series of warnings Wednesday about a possible "blue wave" in the red state.
Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet's 12-percentage-point victory Tuesday over Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock - including wins in 24 counties carried by President Donald Trump in 2016 - signaled to Republicans that Democratic voter enthusiasm could be formidable as they face two special elections this summer and a gubernatorial race in the fall.
"Tonight's results show we are at risk of a #BlueWave in WI", Walker said in a tweet after the results were announced.
He says, "Big government special interests flooded Wisconsin with distorted facts & misinformation". Next, they'll target me and work to undo our bold reforms.
The race was nonpartisan in name only, with national figures such as Joe Biden and Eric Holder and groups like the National Rifle Association pouring in money and endorsements.
The fundraising letter came after the conservative he backed in Tuesday's Wisconsin Supreme Court race was trounced.
Dallet's victory cuts conservative control of the state's highest court from 5-2 to 4-3. "We are still only 20 percent of the judges in Wisconsin, and I'm thrilled to be part of a Supreme Court that includes mostly women".
Running with a tough-on-crime message, Dallet won by almost a 12-point margin with almost all precincts reporting, over the conservative Screnock, 48, in the first statewide general election in the country this year.
Screnock was endorsed by Walker and backed by about $400,000 from the state GOP. "I think people are exhausted 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". With Dallet's win, six of the seven members of the court are now women. But even before Dallet's victory, a state senate election hinted at Democratic surge, as Democrat Patty Schachtner won a seat that had been held by a Republican for 17 years.
Several voters in the state said they were motivated to vote against Screnock because of his NRA support.
Dallet, 48, has been a Milwaukee County circuit judge since 2008 and previously worked 11 years as a prosecutor.
Screnock was appointed judge by Walker in 2015.
As a private attorney, Screnock defended Walker's collective bargaining law and the Republican-drawn redistricting plan that is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Reports state that it is the first time since 1995 that a liberal candidate won a race for an open seat on the court.
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