Protasiewicz never trailed in Wisconsin Supreme Court votes

She never trailed in the vote counting, winning urban areas and the Fox Cities. The result shifts the court's balance of power.
Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 1:33 AM CDT
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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WBAY) - The spring election brought a monumental shift for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, giving liberals a 4-3 majority on the state’s high court for the first time since 2008.

The Associated Press called the race for Janet Protasiewicz about an hour after polls closed. The Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge led from the first report of votes tabulated and never trailed but only expanded her lead over her opponent, Daniel Kelly, a former supreme court justice.

The story of the night might be the turnout, especially in places like Dane County, where Protasiewicz captured more than 80% of the vote as of 10 p.m. Tuesday.

“I want to thank all of you for being here this evening to celebrate this wonderful victory. Today’s results have been over a year in the making. I’ve been traveling this entire state for the last year. I could not have done it without the hard work and dedication of all of you right here in this room,” Protasiewicz told a crowd of supporters at her watch party.

In a victory speech, Protasiewicz thanked her supporters and promised to be a fair voice on the court, despite a campaign touting many of her positions openly, such as her support for abortion rights and championing fair election maps.

The result of Tuesday’s race shifts the court’s balance of power and threatens a number of Republican-backed laws which may come before the court.

“Today I’m proud to stand by the promise I’ve made to every Wisconsinite that I will always deliver justice and bring common sense to our Supreme Court. This is a victory for all of us. You have entrusted me with great responsibility, and I will treat the role with the highest degree of integrity,” Protasiewicz said.

Protasiewicz was expected to win heavily Democratic areas. Kelly did well in Northeast Wisconsin and was counting on decisive wins in the Fox Valley to help offset the lopsided losses in Dane and Milwaukee counties, but that didn’t happen.