When I say huge, I mean huge. This essentially assures the Wisconsin Supreme Court stays conservative for the next decade at least.
Conservative Brian Hagedorn was not supposed to even be competitive in this race. Republican groups abandoned him (always finding ways to try to lose) and refused to spend money on his campaign. Instead, he now holds a 5,000+ vote lead over liberal-backed Lisa Neubauer with 99% of precincts reporting.
A conservative win would increase their majority to 5-2 and ensure their control over the court, which they’ve held since 2008, for years to come. It would be a particularly stinging defeat for liberals, who were confident and riding a wave of wins in 2018, including picking up a Supreme Court seat and ousting Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
Conservative Brian Hagedorn, who was Walker’s chief legal counsel for five years, led liberal-backed Lisa Neubauer by 5,911 votes out of 1.2 million cast, based on unofficial results. That is a difference of about 0.49 percentage point, close enough for Neubauer to request a recount but she would have to pay for it.
Hagedorn declared victory early Wednesday morning.
What was Hagedorn’s great sin that’s made him so “controversial?”
He didn’t support gay marriage in a blog post as a college student. He also (gasp) gave a speech at the Alliance Defending Freedom, that noted hate group as defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center (Narrator: it’s not a hate group at all).
Hagedorn, an evangelical Christian, spent much of the race defending his conservative beliefs. Opponents have pointed to a blog he wrote as a law school student in the mid-2000s in which he called Planned Parenthood a “wicked organization” and denounced court rulings favoring gay rights by likening homosexuality to bestiality. They have also pointed to his founding of a conservative private school that allows for expelling students who are gay. Hagedorn was also paid $3,000 to give speeches at meetings of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a group that supported criminalizing sodomy and sterilizing transgender people.
It’s just silly that any of that was seen as disqualifying enough for Republican groups to try to hand a Supreme Court seat to a liberal. It’s that kind of loser mentality that brought on the nomination of now President Trump back in 2016. Stop fighting fights on liberal terms and then complaining when you don’t win.
Hagedorn pressed on and did win this race though, despite the dumb strategy on the part of other state Republicans.
The margin is currently 0.49%, which is not automatic recount territory but the Democrat is raising cash to request one.
Minutes after he declared victory, the Neubauer campaign sent out a fundraising plea saying “with the vote total neck and neck, it looks like we’re heading into a potential recount.” Her campaign adviser Scott Spector said Wednesday morning that Hagedorn’s declaration of victory did not change their position that a recount was likely.
We all know what happens next. Some truck full of uncounted ballots will be found in Milwaukee and it’ll throw this race on it’s head.
Really though, Hagedorn’s margin is historically insurmountable and it’s not that close. The only way this race flips is with some serious impropriety. No one turns a 5100 vote margin around in a recount. It just doesn’t happen. If it does, expect the sparks to start flying.
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