Dallet advantage in Democratic counties fuels win

April 4, 2018

Judge Rebecca Dallet stands with her daughters Rachel, left, and Ellie, right, and husband, Brad, as they celebrate at Good City Brewing, Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in Milwaukee. Dallet defeated Michael Screnock on Tuesday for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, shrinking the court's conservative majority and giving Democrats a jolt of energy heading into the fall election. (Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Rebecca Dallet used huge leads in the most Democratic parts of Wisconsin to fuel her win over conservative challenger Michael Screnock in a state Supreme Court race that saw the second-highest turnout for a comparable election since 2000.

The liberal Dallet trounced Screnock 56 percent to 44 percent statewide, based on unofficial results.

Dallet, a Milwaukee County circuit judge, and Screnock, a Sauk County circuit judge, each carried an equal number of counties — 36. But Dallet’s win was fueled by huge margins in the most Democratic counties of Milwaukee and Dane where she beat Screnock by nearly 124,000 votes for a 73-26 margin.

Screnock did best in the traditionally conservative suburban Milwaukee counties of Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee where he got nearly 41,000 more votes than Dallet. That wasn’t enough to make up for the lead she built up in Madison and Milwaukee.

In Brown County, a swing part of the state where Green Bay is located and elections are often won or lost, Dallet beat Screnock 55-45. That was nearly a complete reversal from 2016 when Trump carried the county 52-41.

Dallet won 24 more counties than did Trump, a troublesome sign for Republicans heading into the fall midterm election.

Turnout was 22.2 percent — the highest for a spring election since 2011 when it was 34 percent. The Supreme Court race that year came in the middle of massive protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s collective bargaining restrictions.

Turnout in the three most recent Supreme Court elections was 20 percent in 2013, 18 percent in 2015 and 16 percent in 2017. The average of all spring elections since 2000 was 19 percent.

More than 995,000 voters out of nearly 4.7 million voting-age adults cast ballots in the Supreme Court race this year.

Voters also rejected a constitutional amendment to do away with the state treasurer position. It was rejected by a 24-point margin.

Update hourly