Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet said her victory is a message from voters that the special interests can’t buy a seat on the state Supreme Court.
Dallet often railed against rival Michael Screnock, a Sauk County judge, for the more than $408,000 the state GOP spent on his behalf in the campaign, a statewide ad buy from the Wisconsin’s largest business group and his support from the National Rifle Association.
“The message is certainly about the state not being for sale, that the voters are the ones who are going to decide who wins these races, not the big-money interests,” she said in an interview with WisPolitics.com.
With more than 70 percent of the vote in, Dallet was at 56 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns collected by The Associated Press. Screnock was at 44 percent.
Dallet becomes the first candidate backed by liberals to win an open Supreme Court seat since 1995, when current Justice Ann Walsh Bradley first won. She will replace Justice Michael Gableman in August, cutting the conservatives’ majority to 4-3 from the current 5-2 split. She also becomes the sixth woman on the court, leaving Justice Daniel Kelly as the only man.
Dallet also received help from outside groups in the campaign, with the liberal Greater Wisconsin Committee running TV ads and other organizations doing digital spots and canvassing for her. That includes the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which spent $165,000.
She has previously pledged not to hear any cases filed by the NDRC that come before the court. Dallet told WisPolitics.com she also would step off other cases involving an organization that spent significant money on her behalf.
“That’s what voters need to see,” she said. “Wisconsinites need to know that their courts aren’t and can’t be bought.”