Liberals have won another landslide statewide election in Wisconsin, pushing Judge Janet Protasiewicz on to the state Supreme Court.
Protasiewicz won the closely watched, and massively expensive race for Supreme Court by nearly 11 points Tuesday. She got 55% of the vote, compared to conservative former Justice Dan Kelly’s 44%.
“I will bring the fairness and impartiality that you all have been waiting for, and I will be a part of the solution to make our Supreme Court something that you all feel proud of and protected by,” Protasiewicz said in her victory speech.
Janet Protasiewicz’s Victory Speech
Dan Kelly’s Concession Speech
“I wish Wisconsin the best of luck because I think it’s going to need it,” Kelly said in his speech on election night.
Wisconsin’s 2023 race for the Supreme Court is the most expensive in U.S. history. Some estimates have the race costing at least $45 million. That crushes the former record of $15 million spent on the Illinois Supreme Court race back in 2004.
Turnout was huge, and played a huge role in the race.
Early numbers suggest that 36% of voters cast a ballot for Tuesday’s election. That would beat the previous high turnout for a Wisconsin judicial race, and would beat the turnout numbers from the 2020 court race and presidential primary.
The race was Kelly’s second defeat for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He lost in the 2020 race by a similar double-digit margin.
“Judicial campaigns are supposed to be about constitutional principles and legal scholarship, which has been the focus of my conversations with the people of Wisconsin. Unfortunately, my opponent made her campaign about cynical appeals to political passions, serial lies, and a blatant disregard for judicial ethics and the integrity of the court. But the judgment of the people of Wisconsin is paramount, and this is what they have chosen,” Kelly said.
The Protasiewicz-Kelly race was a national draw, bringing in millions of dollars from out-of-state supporters, because it is seen as a proxy election on abortion.
Protasiewicz has made it clear her “values” include a woman’s right to choose. Kelly accused her of all but promising to strike down Wisconsin’s pre-Roe abortion law.
That law, which outlaws abortions in every case except for the health of the mother, is being challenged by Wisconsin’s Democratic governor and Democratic attorney general.
Protasiewicz will hear arguments in that case next month.
Protasiewicz ‘s win gives liberals a 4-3 majority on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, their first majority in 15 years.
Now there’s an expectation that Protasiewicz will rule on cases that involve Wisconsin’s election maps, Act 10, school choice, and a list of other issues that Democrats in the state have not been able to succeed on through the legislature.
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