Wisconsin Supreme Court Race May Be Key 2024 Bellwether

A nonpartisan race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court may be a major sign of the future of the 2024 race. Democratic Party-related organizations are donating millions to aid the left-leaning candidate in the race.

The donors to current Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz include billionaire George Soros and former Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

The state Republican Party called the donations a sign that “Protasiewicz will simply be a progressive rubber stamp, and they’ll drop whatever cash needed to buy her a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat because her pro-criminal record aligns with their agenda.”

Protasiewicz is running in an open primary against several other candidates, including conservative Justice Dan Kelly. She has been endorsed by Hillary Clinton and former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder.

She also received more than $8 million from the state’s Democratic Party alongside other private donations.

This is not the first time that the Badger State has become a significant factor in national politics. Wisconsin was a crucial swing state in the 2020 election, which saw incumbent President Donald Trump lose by a narrow margin.

Trump had won a surprise victory in the state in 2016, one of the linchpins in winning the Electoral College. The victory coincided with similar wins in Michigan and Pennsylvania. These three wins placed Trump in the White House.

The issues surrounding Wisconsin gained national attention following the reforms of former Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI). Walker challenged the state’s powerful public sector unions and eliminated much of their ability to collectively bargain.

The actions led to an unsuccessful but high-profile recall effort against the governor, as well as a heavily-contested 2014 gubernatorial race.

The challenge against Walker’s reforms led to another contentious state supreme court race in 2011. Democrats backed JoAnne Kloppenburg against incumbent Justice David Prosser in the nonpartisan race.

The election would determine whether or not the majority of the seven-member court would lean more to the left or right, and the potential constitutionality of Walker’s new laws. Prosser won by about 7,000 votes in the race that saw almost 1.5 million people head to the polls.

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