Supreme Court Race Reaches Record Spending Levels

Thursday, March 23, 2023 12:34 PM | WiSCA (Administrator)

Author: Andrew Engel - WISCA Lobbyist (Hamilton Consulting)

With less than two weeks left until the April 4 election, the race for an open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court has already broken national spending records. Former Justice Daniel Kelly, a judicial conservative, and Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz, a judicial liberal, were the top two finishers in a four-way primary.

Currently, judicial conservatives enjoy a 4-3 majority on Wisconsin’s elected supreme court. Justice Patience Roggensack, a judicial conservative, is retiring at the end of her term on July 31, leaving an open seat which will decide the ideological balance of the court for several years. Because of this, the race is hotly contested, attracting a significant amount of attention.

According to one report, candidates and outside groups have spent $22.4 million on television advertising alone over the course of the race, with at least $13.2 million spent since the February 21 primary. The previous record for political spending in a state judicial race, $15.2 million, was set in a 2004 supreme court race in Illinois.

Also on April 4, Republican Rep. Dan Knodl will face Democratic candidate Jodi Habush Sinykin in a special election for the 8th Senate District. The seat is currently vacant after Sen. Alberta Darling retired in December in the middle of her eighth term.

For more information about the upcoming elections, see the following articles:

·         Supreme Court Candidates Kelly, Protasiewicz Win Primary

·         Rep. Knodl Wins Republican Primary in SD 8

·         Judge Rules Bail, Welfare Reform Questions Can Appear on Spring Ballot

·         Supreme Court Candidates Discuss Philosophy and Key Cases at WisPolitics Forum

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