Yes, we know, Judge Brian Hagedorn won and Judge Lisa Neubauer lost. Soon somebody in the Neubauer camp will figure it out, too, but they’ll still raise money to pay for a recount. But, believe it or not, there were other winners and losers Tuesday night.
Winner: RightWisconsin. And we’re not just saying this to say how great we are. We believe the race began to turn around when Judge Brian Hagedorn announced in an op-ed on our website that he would not back down after the personal attacks by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Judge Lisa Neubauer, and One Wisconsin Now.
Loser: Wisconsin Realtors. Fine. Don’t back Hagedorn. But when you went public in asking for the donation back, and then you had Deb Jordahl and R.J. Johnson put a knife in via an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, you deserved every bit of scorn you received. And what did you get for it, besides a loss of respect? When you pick up the loser award, have Deb and R.J. give the acceptance speech.
Winners: Recount attorneys. They aren’t cheap, and each side will need a lot of them thanks to Judge Lisa Neubauer’s likely request. Looks like Skipper Bud’s and Eddie Martinis will have good sales months. Our favorite attorney Michael Maistelman is currently spinning the globe planning his next vacation. Tahiti? Tibet? Kokomo? But it will have to wait until after springtime in the OC (Outagamie County).
Losers: Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC). Both the national and the state chamber of commerce sat out the election. Which begs the question, how valuable either really are to the center-right governing coalition? Once WMC’s initials inspired fear in the hearts of Democrats during judicial elections. Has Governor Tony Evers silenced the Capitol lions?
Winner: Americans for Prosperity, American Majority, RSLC. While all the big-name center right organizations wrote Hagedorn off, these three scrappy groups did the hard work of freedom and delivered an upset victory.
Loser: Madison – Milwaukee love affair. Wisconsin’s only First Class City just isn’t that into the 30 miles surrounded by reality. Southeastern Wisconsin lefties stayed home Tuesday night and no absentee ballots came to Neubauer’s rescue.
Winner: Christian candidates. Apparently believing that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead is not a disqualifier to serve on the state’s highest court. When nearly everybody else was running for the hills, social conservatives in Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Right to Life and Pro-Life Wisconsin rallied to Hagedorn’s defense. No effective religious test for Catholics and Evangelical Christians – for now.
Loser: Planned Parenthood. Sorry, but your favored candidate’s victory party got aborted by the voters.
Winner: Hagedorn campaign strategist Stephan Thompson. Although not as high profile as Betsy Ankney’s win running Sen. Ron Johnson’s 2016 campaign, Hagedorn’s upset win was just as much of a surprise. Thompson’s Battleground Strategies may become the go-to firm for Wisconsin judicial races going forward. He should read the fan mail he’s receiving from RightWisconsin readers. And no tuba ad!
Loser: Eric Holder. He thought $350K would purchase him a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court (with a judge that would not commit to recusing herself on his cases). Remember Eric, it’s just money. Ironically, Holder’s presence in Wisconsin may have increased voter turnout – for Republicans.
Winners: The Andy’s (Cook and Hitt). After the Screnock debacle last year, there were lots of finger pointing at the Federalist Society in general, and two of their leaders specifically – Andy Cook and Andy Hitt. If Hagedorn would have lost, they would have gotten some of the blame. So Andy Cook and Andy Hitt should get credit for the victory. Even when personally battered and seemingly defeated, Hagedorn was a fighter.
Loser: Justice Shirley Abrahamson. Except for Chief Justice, no seat is any more important than any other. And yet, this specific seat was held by the Liberal Lioness since the year Jimmy Carter was elected President. She ruthlessly enforced her ideology over the last 30 years while personally annoying both conservatives and liberals on the court. Now, after bitterly clinging to the office so Governor Scott Walker couldn’t appoint her successor, Abrahamson has to be asking why she bothered. Her hand-picked candidate lost, but Walker’s lawyer won after sharply criticizing her during the campaign.
Winner: Justice Dan Kelly. The difference between 5-2 and 4-3 court split means that the liberal special interests will not be as willing to invest in his defeat next Spring because it will not flip the court. While he still will have a campaign because his election is the same date as the Wisconsin Democratic presidential primary, there won’t be an independent spending arms race. Maybe.
Loser: Passing the torch / torching the past. Only in Madison could Mayor Paul Soglin be attacked from the left, and the results weren’t even close. Identity politics of the new Left triumphed over the old Left. Soglin will probably wonder if he should have run for governor. He shouldn’t have.
Winner: School choice. Neubauer would have been a big step to a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that publicly-funded vouchers at religious charter schools are unconstitutional. You know who else won? The kids.
Loser: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. First Justice Rebecca Bradley, now Brian Hagedorn. The big Gannett mcpaper megaphone failed to drag down another conservative candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court by smearing them. Now the Journal Sentinel will have to go back to editorials complaining about electing judges instead of appointing them. When they get to writing about the ugliness of the campaigns, they should try looking in the mirror.
Winner: Voter ID. Who knew voting was so easy? Governor Tony Evers, that’s who.
It’s time to go vote, Wisconsin! And boy, is it easy. Decide when you’re voting and how you’ll get there. Bring your photo ID and stay in line if you get to your polling place by 8 p.m. If you still have questions about what’s on your ballot, visit https://t.co/kQlhd7g1U4.
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) April 2, 2019
Another large turnout election. Glad to see the governor defy his fellow Democrats and call voting “easy.”
Loser: Governor Tony Evers. His overreach in causing chaos in the Capitol, opposing school choice, vetoing a middle class tax cut, and proposing a state budget with over $1 billion in tax increases all helped wake up conservatives in Wisconsin. His endorsement of Neubauer didn’t help her, either. Hey, Tony, it’s the will of the people.
Winner: Dave Blaska. Given the mayoral race, his race for school board probably never stood a chance. However, he has lit a candle of freedom in the howling winds of Madison socialism. May the flame continue to glow bright until one day sanity is restored to the city.
Loser: Campaign finance “reform.” Neubauer campaigned against “dark money” until it flooded in for her, and now she’s raising money for a recount that will no doubt cost a lot a special interest money. But she’s doing it for Democracy and all that…
Finally, Winner: Racine County. Apparently familiarity really does breed contempt, and the evidence is Hagedorn defeating Neubauer on her home turf 56.9 percent to 43.1 percent. It’s almost enough to make us forgive them for recalling Sen. George Petak. Actually, nope, not yet.