Republican Gov. Scott Walker is in full-blown panic after his preferred candidate lost the Wisconsin Supreme Court election.
On Tuesday night, Wisconsin voters picked Judge Rebecca Dallet over Judge Michael Screnock for the state Supreme Court, in a blowout margin of 12 points. And Republican Gov. Scott Walker knows what Tuesday night’s results mean for him — as he revealed in a panicked series of tweets after the results came in.
“Tonight’s results show we are at risk of a #BlueWave in WI,” he tweeted. “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 continued: “Big government special interests flooded Wisconsin with distorted facts & misinformation. 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.”
He concluded by asking for a donation to his re-election campaign.
Officially, judicial elections in Wisconsin are nonpartisan. But the candidates and their supporters had no pretense about their ideology.
Dallet’s election was a huge victory for Wisconsin Democrats. It is the first time they have managed to elect a liberal to an open seat on the state’s highest court since 1995. It proves the electoral energy of other recent blue upsets, like Doug Jones winning the Alabama Senate race and Conor Lamb taking Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, has spread to the Badger State.
And Walker is right to be scared by the results, for multiple reasons.
First, Walker has relied heavily on the 5-2 conservative court majority to impose his will and keep his job. When he was the target of a John Doe probe for alleged illegal coordination with a dark money group, the conservative majority on the state Supreme Court stepped in and ordered the evidence destroyed.
Now that this majority has been narrowed to 4-3, Walker and his allies could face more judicial opposition on issues like redistricting and voting rights.
But even more important, it bodes ill for Walker’s ability to win a third term this fall. He has been nervous about his prospects ever since Democrat Patty Schachtner flipped a rural, red district in the legislature earlier this year, which Walker said was a “wake up call.”
Facing Democratic voter energy and rock-bottom approval ratings, Walker was so worried he even tried to block any more special elections in his state this year, relenting only after three courts said he couldn’t do that.
Dallet’s victory is a decisive first step toward restoring accountability and the rule of law in Wisconsin after years of Walker’s partisan excesses. And Republicans see the writing on the wall more clearly than ever.