Update on State Supreme Court Race

After several months of campaigning for the state Supreme Court primary election, on Tuesday, Feb. 20, Wisconsin voters selected Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Dallet to advance to the general election.

While Screnock “won” the primary, it is unclear if he will have the numbers to win the general. Progressives Dallet and Tim Burns altogether took 54 percent of the primary votes, so Screnock will need to convert some of the Burns votes or hope for higher conservative turnout in the general. Yet, with the typically low turnout for spring elections, many experts say anything can happen.

In the Marquette University Law School poll released on March 5, 14 percent of registered voters said they had a favorable opinion of Judge Rebecca Dallet. 10 percent had a favorable opinion of Judge Michael Screnock. However, most voters had not heard enough about the candidates to state an opinion.

On March 2, the candidates debated at Marquette University Law School, discussing issues including the role of justices, recusal rules, campaign contribution limits and the effects of donor influence, and the Act 10 ruling. Dallet touted her experience as a prosecutor and judge and said the court needs to move away from special interest groups that have gained too much influence. Screnock focused on his promise to uphold the rule of law and respect the state constitution and separation of powers doctrine. The candidates will also participate in a Milwaukee Bar Association forum on March 26 and a second debate on March 30.

For more information on the state Supreme Court and other elections, visit our 2018 Election issue update.