Primary eve: Both parties highlight importance of Wisconsin Supreme Court race

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 9:04 PM CST
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SUPERIOR, WI. (Northern News Now) -- Wisconsin voters will head to the polls Tuesday, casting their ballots in a primary race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The seat was left open when Justice Pat Roggensack announced her retirement.

Here’s a look at the candidates running to replace her.

Jennifer Dorow is a Waukesha county judge who recently presided over the trial of a man convicted of driving through their Christmas parade,

Everett Mitchell is a judge in Dane County, while Janet Protasiewicz sits on the bench in Milwaukee county.

Dan Kelly used to serve on the state Supreme Court but lost his re-election bid in 2020.

This open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court could drastically change the political landscape of the state on issues like abortion and congressional district maps.

“The New York Times calls Wisconsin’s State Supreme Court Race the biggest and most unusual election of 2023,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler.

The open seat on Wisconsin’s 7-seat Supreme Court will tip the bench to the left or right.

Conservatives have maintained the majority in recent years.

“The liberals want to turn back 25 years’ worth of conservative reform in this state,” said Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Brian Schimming.

The upcoming court will likely hear cases on district map disputes and the state’s 1849 ban on abortion which went back into effect when the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer.

“This election will determine if challenges to our totally archaic and unconstitutional ban on abortion will get a fair hearing,” Wikler said.

He said other issues like ballot drop box bans and election result confirmations could be impacted as well.

“We have to fight back, we need to fight back to ensure that voters know just how extreme these republican candidates for state supreme court in Wisconsin are,” Wikler said.

Republican Chair Brian Schimming said his party is concerned about other issues.

“The folks on the left are trying to use the abortion issue to take people’s attention away from law and order, from conservative reform, from Act 10, from concealed carry, from school choice,” Schimming said. ”They need that diversion.”

Both Wikler and Schimming said their parties are hoping for a large voter turnout this spring, both in Tuesday’s primary and in the April 4 general election, saying despite the odd election year, it’s a race that holds a lot of importance.

The primary is Tuesday.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The top two vote-getters in this race will advance to April’s general election.