Democrats score big in Wisconsin Supreme Court race

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet won a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court Tuesday, a victory for Democrats that gives more momentum for a potential blue wave in the November midterm elections. 

State Supreme Court races rarely merit national attention. The Wisconsin election ― which gives justices a 10-year term ― was officially nonpartisan, but it was crystal clear where the partisan lines formed. 

It’s the first time in more than a decade that a candidate won an open Supreme Court seat in the state. 

Dallet picked up endorsements from former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), while former Attorney General Eric Holder went to the state to campaign for her. 

Dallet defeated Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock, an appointee of Gov. Scott Walker (R) who had his own big-time backing from the National Rifle Association.

RELATED: Rising political stars to watch in 2018

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Rising political stars to watch in 2018
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Rising political stars to watch in 2018

Randy Bryce (D)

Bryce made waves earlier this year when he announced he would run against House Speaker Paul Ryan in the 2018 midterm elections. Bryce, a Democrat, is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor and union ironworker.

Rep. Scott Taylor, (R-VA)

A former Navy SEAL, Taylor has represented Virginia's 2nd District since he was elected in 2016. He has branded himself as a Republican lawmaker who is unafraid to speak out against President Trump and members of his own party -- recently calling out Roy Moore for allegations of sexual misconduct.

Rep. Seth Moulton, (D-MA)

39-year-old Seth Moulton has increasingly emerged as a prominent House member and one to watch within the Democratic party. He served four tours of duty in Iraq and notably serves as the. Recently, he has advocated for "a new generation" of Democratic leadership.

Rep. Chris Collins, (R-NY)

Collins was elected to represent New York's 27th district on Capitol Hill in 2012, and has since positioned himself as a vocal right-wing defender within the Republican party. He also came out as one of President Trump's most vocal supporters leading up to an after the 2016 election.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.)

Krishnamoorthi was elected in 2016 -- making him one of the more freshman lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Still, the former lawyer with a past of aiding the Obama administration has played an integral role this year in congressional investigations into the Trump campaign's potential ties to Russia. As a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he has taken many opportunities to speak critically of the clearance aides like Jared Kushner have -- and has firmly positioned himself as a staunch opponent of GOP efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (R-AK)

As one of 21 women currently serving in the U.S. Senate, Murkowski has positioned herself as a more moderate leader within the Republican party. Murkowski refused to toe the party line on an attempted Obamacare repeal earlier this year, and has since raised skepticism over specific elements of the GOP tax bill and Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Rep. Charlie Crist, (D-Fla.)

Crist is one of the more interesting players currently positioned in the political landscape. Once a Republican, Crist served as both attorney general and governor of Florida -- but then switched to a member of the Independent and eventually Democratic party. In his current House role representing Florida's 13th congressional district, Crist has emerged as a Democrat unafraid to take a middle-ground approach in his policy stances.

Sen. Tom Cotton, (R-AR)

As the youngest U.S. senator, Cotton's political future currently looks very bright. As one of the few Capitol Hill lawmakers that has yet to have a public feud -- on Twitter or otherwise -- with President Trump, Cotton was recently on the shortlist to replace Mike Pompeo as CIA director if Pompeo replaced Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, (D-NV)

Catherine Cortez Masto is the first Latina ever elected to the U.S. Senate.

Governor-elect Ralph Northam (D-VA)

Northam was elected governor of Virginia in the series of "anti-Trump" Election Day victories Democrats celebrated in Nov. 2017. Northam's victory over Ed Gillespie signaled a potential shift in the oft-fraught over Virginia battleground state -- and Northam's gubernatorial tenure will be one to eye in the context of midterms and the 2020 presidential election.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY)

Many who watch politics closely have noted Gillibrand as one to watch since she was appointed to Hillary Clinton's former Senate seat in 2009, and then elected in 2012. Early in her Senate career, Gillibrand used her position as a member of the Committee on Armed Services to chalk up a major legislative win by championing the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Gillibrand has also recently spoken out against sexual harassment allegations stemming from both Democratic and Republican offices -- calling on both Sen. Al Franken and President Trump to resign.

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Conservatives will still control the court, although their majority drops from 5-2 to 4-3 with Dallet’s win.

During the campaign, the two candidate criticized each other as beholden to outside interests and for being activist judges.

Outside groups spent more than $2 million on the race, about evenly split between the two sides. 

These days, every state legislative race and special election ― which in other cycles might go by unnoticed ― is getting extra attention because of the message the results may send about what will happen in November. 

Democrats, stunned by their losses in 2016, have thrown energy into organizing and mobilizing since President Donald Trump’s election. They’ve flipped 39 state legislative seats from red to blue during Trump’s term, plus the governor’s seat in New Jersey, the U.S. Senate seat in Alabama and the 18th Congressional District in Pennsylvania.

Republicans, meanwhile, have turned just four state legislative districts from blue to red. 

In January, Democrats had another big win in Wisconsin: They took a state Senate seat that Republicans had held since 2001. Trump had won the district by 17 percentage points. 

Republicans have a powerful political machine in Wisconsin, and Democrats recognize that picking up ― and holding onto seats ― in November won’t be easy, especially with Walker on the ballot seeking a third term. 

But even Walker called Democrats’ surprise win in January a “wake-up call,” and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Republicans should absolutely “pay attention” to the results. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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