April 4 (UPI) — With backing from prominent Democrats, Judge Rebecca Dallet of Milwaukee County, Wis., won a seat on the state Supreme Court in a race drawing national attention as momentum builds for the November mid-terms.
Her win over Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock, a former conservative activist, to replace outgoing Justice Michael Gableman shrinks the court’s conservative majority from 5-2 to 4-3.
Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder all endorsed Dallet’s candidacy. After winning roughly 56 percent of the vote Tuesday, Dallet will be sworn in for a 10-year term on Aug. 1
“Today, the voters of Wisconsin took a critical first step toward a state government that better reflects their needs and interests,” Holder said in a statement Tuesday night.
Though technically a nonpartisan race, the Republican Party of Wisconsin spent $300,000 on Screnock’s campaign, more than the organization has ever spent on a Supreme Court candidate. The state’s Democratic Party had not donated to Dallet’s campaign through Monday, though the Democratic National Committee gave her $1,516 last week, Madison’s Capital Times reported.
Screnock’s campaign was endorsed by conservative groups such as the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the National Rifle Association.
Gov. Scott Walker, who appointed Screnock to the Sauk County Circuit Court, also endorsed the Sauk County judge. When Screnock was a private attorney, he defended Walker’s collective-bargaining law and the Republican-drawn redistricting plan, which is now faces a U.S. Supreme Court challenge.
“Big government special interests flooded Wisconsin with distorted facts & misinformation,” Walker tweeted. “Next, they’ll target me and work to undo our bold reforms. We need to keep moving #WIForward & make sure a #BlueWave of outside special interest money doesn’t take us backward.
“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,” Walker said.
Wisconsin liberals had not won an open Supreme Court seat since 1995. In 2011, what appeared to be a victory was reversed by uncounted ballots from conservative Waukesha County.