On Tuesday, liberal candidate Judge Janet Protasiewicz won a significant victory over conservative candidate Dan Kelly in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, which was vital to the ideological balance of the court.
Protasiewicz, who is a vocal supporter of liberal policies such as abortion, obtained approximately 55.5% of the vote, while Kelly only received 44.5%. Kelly failed to generate the necessary turnout in rural areas, and Protasiewicz received massive margins in cities like Milwaukee and Madison.
This election, which was one of the most expensive court elections in history, could have significant consequences for the Badger State’s policies, including abortion, voter ID norms, electoral maps, and guns. With liberal justices now holding a 4-3 majority, the state’s voter ID law could be in jeopardy if left-wing challenges are successful in court.
“I feel great. I could not feel better,” Protasiewicz said to the Associated Press following her victory. “I am surprised by the results and the magnitude of the victory here. We are absolutely delighted and thrilled.”
Several high-profile left-wing influencers backed Protasiewicz, including billionaire George Soros, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, actor Mark Ruffalo, and director Steven Spielberg. The total expenditure exceeded an unprecedented $40 million, a considerable increase from previous years when the overall amount was only around $10 million.
After the results came out, Kelly said, “I wish that in a circumstance like this I would be able to concede to a worthy opponent. But I do not have a worthy opponent to which I can concede. This was the most deeply deceitful, dishonorable, despicable campaign I have ever seen run for the courts. It was truly beneath contempt.” He also criticized Protasiewicz for her lies, lack of ethical values, and shameful conduct.
Protasiewicz has promised to oppose Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion law and even used a pro-abortion campaign advertisement featuring a woman celebrating her abortion because the child had the potential to be born with disabilities.
She has also been on the receiving end of criticism for her sentencing record in criminal cases, with conservative groups accusing her of consistently treating violent offenders with leniency. Despite that, she stressed after the election that her victory was a triumph for democracy and against extremism.
“It was truly about saving our democracy, getting away from extremism and having a fair and impartial court where everybody gets a fair shot in the courtroom,” she said. “That’s what it was all about.”
Protasiewicz will begin a ten-year term in August, and the next election for the state Supreme Court will take place in two years. Wisconsin is expected to be a vital battleground state in the 2024 presidential election.
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