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Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race could signal a change in party dominance



Next week’s Supreme Court election in Wisconsin could signal the end of the Republican Party’s dominance of Wisconsin.

Aside from the governorship, Republicans have had a longtime grip on 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.

A win for The Democrats in the April 4th election could change all of that. It would give them an effective majority on the high court, allowing them to redraw both state and congressional state lines, which they argue have allowed the Republicans to keep control of 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 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, may have a domino effect in the state. She is up against former state Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, the conservative candidate backed by the state GOP in the technically non-partisan race.

Republicans currently have a tight grip on the state legislature, a fact that has hamstrung Democratic Gov. Tony Evers throughout his two terms. The GOP is several seats shy of a supermajority in the state Assembly, and a special election for a red-leaning state Senate seat on Tuesday will determine if the GOP hits the two-thirds mark in the state Senate again.

The state’s congressional delegation, meanwhile, is 6-2 Republican, these are made up of four safe Republican seats, two deep blue Democratic districts and a pair of red-leaning but potentially competitive districts that the GOP carried in the midterms.

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