The results of the Supreme Court election had many Republicans pointing to the outcome as a sign of an impending “blue wave,” an indicator of what may happen in the November elections. Despite Liberal Judge Rebecca Dallet’s win, Republican strategist Mark Graul told Media Trackers he doesn’t believe that’s the case.
Graul is highly regarded in conservative circles for his success in statewide spring elections. He certainly believes Republicans face headwinds in November. But he is a virtual minority of one among Republican strategists in his belief that the April 3 result reveals little, if anything, about what to expect from the November mid-term elections.
Governor Scott Walker made clear late on election night, via Twitter, that he took conservative Judge Michael Screnock’s defeat as an indicator of what lies ahead:
“I’m 100 percent convinced that the state supreme court race is not a harbinger for November. Now I’m not saying November is going to be great for Republicans; I’m not saying that. I’m saying look at the campaign that Rebecca Dallet ran. She ran as a conservative. Her ads were about her being a prosecutor. Her ads were about her being a tough on crime judge, how her opponent had never prosecuted a case, had gone soft on sex offenders in his courtroom for the short time he was as a judge.
She ran as a conservative. In a lot of ways, it’s a winning formula. We’ve seen it win for conservative candidates and Rebecca Dallet stole it and she won the race, and it shouldn’t be a big surprise.”
Many Republican observers point to Dallet’s success in Green Bay and the Fox Valley area. She had a 10 point victory in Brown County, virtually unheard for a liberal candidate in any race. Graul argues those numbers actually show the uniqueness of this race; not a trend.
“I think it’s even more obvious how not a harbinger for November it is, when you think about how well she did in the valley, Marathon county, places like that where all we saw up here (Green Bay) were her ads and it’s now come out that I think it was a two to one spending advantage she had on Green Bay media over the last two weeks which is when most of those ads ran. It shouldn’t be a surprise that she won and it really doesn’t have anything to do with what’s going to happen in November.”
In terms of the threat of an enthusiasm gap, Graul told Media Trackers there was really only one indicator of liberal enthusiasm present on April 3:
“The Dane county numbers were impressive, so maybe a little bit in Dane county, but that would be the only place that I really think that the ‘enthusiasm gap,’ the coming blue wave, or whatever we want to call it. The good news that Democrats are expecting in November, maybe we saw a little bit of that in Dane county, but I really don’t feel that we saw that anywhere else.
“We can all talk about the Supreme Court race and analyze it and all those things. I still think clearly Republicans have a head wind come November. I just don’t think that the State Supreme Court race had anything to do with that.”
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