Wisconsin Supreme Court: Voters head to the polls for high-stakes elections


Wisconsin voters on Tuesday will cast their primary votes in what has become an expensive high-stakes battle to control the State Supreme Court in key political battlefield where power is divided between a Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled legislature.

Voters will narrow the pool of candidates to two, who will then advance in April’s general election for a seat on the court, where the Conservatives currently have a 4-to-3 majority. Party operations are being mobilized and money is flowing into races for seats as if they were party contests.

The departure of conservative Judge Patience Roggensack gave the Liberals an opportunity to capture a majority in a court that could decide issues such as abortion, redistributionand the right to vote ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Conservatives controlled the state Supreme Court for 14 years – during this period the court upheld Republican efforts to destroy unions and upheld voting restrictions, including ID requirements and ballot box bans.

“This location is critical to the balance of the court, and the court is critical to the balance of the state,” said Barry Burden, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of its Center for Election Research.

Candidates hoping to make it to the general election in April are Liberals Janet Protasevich, Milwaukee District Court Judge, and Everett Mitchell, Dane County District Judge; and Conservatives Daniel Kelly, former State Supreme Court Justice, and Jennifer Dorough, a judge perhaps best known for presiding over the trial of a man convicted of killing six people and injuring dozens more in a 2021 attack at a Waukesh Christmas parade. State of Wisconsin.

Foreign money flooded the race, exceeding the candidates’ spending. As of Thursday afternoon, television and radio ad orders for the race had reached $7 million, according to ads tracked by Kantar Media/CMAG for the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. Experts say campaign spending could break the previous record of $15.2 million spent on the Illinois Supreme Court race in 2004, according to the liberal-minded Brennan Center, the most costly campaign for a single state Supreme Court seat. .

The court could be the final arbiter on a range of critical issues in Wisconsin in the coming years, including the fate of the state. Act 1849 Prohibition of abortion in almost all cases. A US Supreme Court decision last summer that struck down federal legal protections for the procedure intensified the rhetoric — and spending — around abortion in the Wisconsin race.

The state supreme court could also play a pivotal role in the 2024 election. Wisconsin was a key location Former President Donald Trump Attempts to overturn his 2020 loss and a conservative state Supreme Court judge’s refusal to agree to an attempt that year to plant ballots in two Democratic-majority counties. race of the year.

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