Next week’s Supreme Court election in Wisconsin could be the beginning of the end of the GOP’s near-dominance in Wisconsin.
With the exception of the governorship, Republicans have long had a lock on most levers of power in the state. They have a strong majority of the congressional delegation. They’re on the cusp of supermajorities in both legislative chambers. And conservatives currently hold sway on the state Supreme Court.
But a liberal win in the April 4 election could upend all of that. It would give liberals an effective majority on the high court — and with it, the possibility to redraw state and congressional district lines in ways that dramatically curb Republican power.
“Wisconsinites are very familiar with hearing ‘this is the most important election of our lifetime,’” said Sarah Godlewski, a Democrat who was recently appointed to be the Wisconsin secretary of state after running for the Senate last year. But, she emphasized, this race is actually incredibly “consequential” for the longer-term political control of the state.
A liberal takeover of the supreme court could even be a factor in the race for control of the U.S. House in 2024.
A win by Democrat-backed Janet Protasiewicz — which could shift control of the court from a one-seat advantage for conservatives to a 4-3 liberal majority — could have a domino effect in the state. She is facing former state Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, the conservative candidate backed by the state GOP in the technically non-partisan race.