Good for the people who went out to vote in Wisconsin yesterday (and early). Some thoughts…
First, turnout. According to the WEC, statewide turnout for the Supreme Court race was 20.5%. Spot checking some county results, Milwaukee County came in at 26%. Dane County came in at 36.7%. Meanwhile, Washington County came in at 30.8% with a contested State Senate District in part of the county. Ozaukee County came in at 34.28%. Sheboygan County was 28%. Outagamie County was 24.89%. For the life of me, I can’t figure out Waukesha County’s turnout from their website.
What does this tell us? It’s odd that the county turnouts are so high when the state average is 20.5%. I’m sure that someone will dig into each county, but most of the larger counties that drive results turned out well – well above historic averages for a Spring primary. Once again, Dane County is leading the turnout charge. If Dane County had turned out at the state average of 20.5%, it would have meant 63,762 fewer votes – of which, 82.5% went to a liberal (52,604 votes).
Looking at the Supreme Court results, the liberal candidates got 75,595 more votes than the conservative candidates. Dane County makes up 70% of the gap. Milwaukee County stepped up their turnout game too compared to historic averages. Once again, the liberals are going to get virtually all of their votes from two counties and will concentrate their efforts on turnout, turnout, turnout. Conservatives have to match or exceed that turnout in the other 70 counties. Conservatives have a structural disadvantage in statewide races that will be difficult to overcome for many years to come.
Then again… Ron Johnson did it. He was blessed with a uniquely terrible candidate, but he still had the organization and did the work to win. Handily. It can be done.
Congratulations to Dan Kelly for winning the primary. Personally, I was very torn between the candidates, which is why I avoided weighing in during the primary. I did not want to contribute to friendly fire. Dan Kelly is an excellent conservative mind and has already proven to be a solid Supreme Court Justice. Every conservative should turn out and vote for him without reservation.
Like Johnson, Kelly is also blessed with a uniquely terrible opponent. Janet Protasiewicz is a terrible judge who is telling anyone who will listen how she will use her position on the court to be an activist for her personal causes. When people tell you who they are, listen to them. While terrible, she will also have unlimited money to tell whatever story she wants. The Liberals have successfully nationalized this race and Conservatives are playing from behind.
The Republican Primary race for the special election to replace Senator Alberta Darling was also interesting. Janel Brantjen has broken with Republican leadership and ran on an election integrity agenda. Van Mobley ran on the Trump agenda even though Trump supported Brantjen. Dan Knodl was the Republican establishment’s pick and had their broad support. Knodl won handily with 56.8% of the vote. That is a massive result given that the other two candidates are well-known in the district and have their own bases of support.
What does this tell us? First, it tells us that Trump’s king-maker power in Wisconsin is completely gone. He has no power here. Wisconsin’s Republicans have largely moved on. Second, the 8th District is not as solidly Republican as it once was. Of the three, Knodl has the best chance of winning the general election. This bodes well for the Republicans maintaining their two-thirds majority in the Senate.