Janet Protasiewicz and Daniel Kelly are the projected winners of Tuesday’s primary race for Wisconsin Supreme Court. The two will now face each other in the April 4 general election. The political leaning of the state’s highest court will be decided then.
If Protasiewicz ultimately wins on April 4, the court will flip to a 4-3 liberal majority—the court’s first liberal majority in 14 years. If Kelly wins the whole thing, conservatives will maintain their current 4-3 majority.
The ultimate winner will be appointed to a 10-year term.
With 98% of votes counted Tuesday night, Protasiewicz received 445,196 votes, while Kelly received 232,299 votes. Protasiewicz is a current Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge. Kelly lost his previous seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court to Jill Karofsky in 2020.
Third place Tuesday night went to conservative-leaning Waukesha County Circuit Court judge Jennifer Dorow (209,441 votes), while fourth place went to liberal-leaning Dane County Circuit Court judge Everett Mitchell (71,768 votes).
“I’m honored that the people of Wisconsin have chosen me as one of the candidates to continue on from this primary—and not just that, but I’m proud that we earned more votes than any other candidate today,” Protasiewicz said Tuesday night. “But, as much as we should celebrate tonight, this is just the beginning and our work is far from over. I’m counting on all of you to continue the momentum we’ve built all the way through April 4th—because there’s too much at stake in this election for us to take anything for granted.”
“We came up a little short,” Dorrow said Tuesday night. “We know that with Dan Kelly, he will be fair, he will be impartial.”
So why are partisan politics so important in a race that’s technically nonpartisan (lol)? “For 14 years,” explains the Washington Post, “conservatives have controlled the Wisconsin Supreme Court, issuing decisions that upheld limits on unions, affirmed a voter ID law, expanded gun rights, curbed the powers of the Democratic governor, banned absentee ballot drop boxes and established political districts that ensured Republican dominance in the state legislature.” So there.
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