Scott Walker’s handpicked candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court loses in a landslide

Walker's candidate and a scheme to eliminate the State Treasurer both lost by double digits.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice-Elect Rebecca Dallet
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice-Elect Rebecca Dallet CREDIT: Dallet's Twitter feed

Wisconsin voters sent a strong message to Gov. Scott Walker (R) and the National Rifle Association on Tuesday, electing liberal Rebecca Dallet to an open seat on the state’s Supreme Court.

Dallet defeated a Walker-appointed and NRA-endorsed judge, Republican-backed conservative Michael Screnock, by a surprisingly lopsided 56 percent to 44 percent majority. Her win narrows the pro-Walker conservative majority on the court to 4 to 3 — and marks the first win by a liberal to an open seat since 1995.

Walker and his team campaigned heavily for Screnock, while the National Rifle Association backed him as a “committed judge who will interpret the Constitution the way our Founding Fathers intended.” A local news station reported on Tuesday that many voters said they were backing Dallet to send a message to the pro-gun group after she received the support of former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and her Giffords: Courage to Prevent Gun Violence group.


Walker had also urged voters to pass a constitutional amendment to eliminate the position of the Wisconsin State Treasurer and transfer its responsibilities to his Lt. Governor. Voters rejected that proposal 61 percent to 39 percent.

Walker, who had warned after a Democratic candidate won a GOP-held state Senate in January that his party must see it as a “wake up call,” tweeted after Tuesday’s defeats that the results could be a bad omen for his party in November.

The governor, who is seeking a third term, blamed the results on “big government special interests” and urged his supporters to fight against a “#BlueWave of outside special interest money.”


The criticism is ironic, given that Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Brothers’ anti-government dark money group, has reportedly spent more than $10 million in the state to prop up Walker and his policies — and during his successful 2012 effort to avoid recall, eight of his top ten donors came from out of state.

In more good news for Democrats, the party’s candidates also won special elections on Tuesday for seats in the Rhode Island Senate and, in an upset, the Massachusetts House of Representatives.