From John Schulze, ABC of Wisconsin Director of Legal and Government Relations
After several lawsuits, the ballots cast over a week ago were finally counted last Monday. Voter turnout was the highest since 2016, when there were primaries for both presidential party nominees.
Wisconsin Supreme Court: The highest profile election was the race between Governor Scott Walker’s conservative 2016 appointee Dan Kelly vs liberal Madison Judge Jill Karofsky. A series of events let to Karofsky’s 55% – 45% victory:
- A Democrat presidential primary election with GOP nominee Trump running unopposed. Interestingly enough, Democrat VT Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race the day after the Wisconsin election but nearly a week before the votes were counted (Joe Biden ended up winning 63-32).
- COVID-19 pandemic curtailed conservatives’ effective door-to-door efforts that helped elected Brian Hagedorn to the Supreme Court last year.
- Democrat Party Chair Ben Wiker used his national network of donors to bring in over $1,000,000 to aid Karofsky.
- Liberal voter intensity over the Legislature’s refusal to move the election, and the US Supreme Court’s overruling Gov. Evers’ last minute attempt to do so.
Constitutional Amendment. By 75-25, voters added victims’ rights to the state constitution. California Billionaire Henry Nicholas has funded the effort in Wisconsin and many other states, called Marsy’s Law in memory of his sister who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983.
Local elections of note:
- School Referendums. Over half of the 57-public school referendums were approved, including Racine’s $1 billion referendum that passed by only five votes.
- Democrat State Rep. David Crowley became the first African American elected Milwaukee County executive, narrowly defeating Democrat State Senator Chris Larson.
- Conservative Josh Schoemann was elected Washington County’s first county executive by nearly 2-1.