How To Watch Tonight's Wisconsin Judicial Race

Wisconsin voters will determine Tuesday whether they’ll send another conservative or a liberal to the state’s supreme court.

Though judicial races are nonpartisan, both Republicans and Democrats spent heavily and engaged voters in the state. Former attorney general Eric Holder also prioritized the race as fragment of his effort to shift the national redistricting map more in Democrats’ favor after a series of statehouse and statewide elections like these gave Republicans a real edge over the past decade.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a outsize figure in Wisconsin, backed Michael Screnock, the conservative, while Democrats lined up behind Rebecca Dallet, a liberal. (In the primary earlier this year, Dallet defeated an Our Revolution–backed candidate.)

In Wisconsin, conservatives tend to enact well in state judicial elections, and currently hold a 5–2 margin on the state’s supreme court. And, in the past, conservative strength in April has boded well for Republican strength in November.

Though for a national audience the race might seem a cramped obscure, the results offer a) a scrutinize at newly christened battleground state Wisconsin’s November elections, and b) demographic data that will give us a better picture of how people are voting in Midwestern suburbs ahead of the 2018 midterms.

Two years after Donald Trump infamously beat Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin and undermined the “blue wall” in the Midwest, the state will play host to two hotly contested election’s later this year: Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s reelection tender, and that of Gov. Scott Walker, who’s running for a third term after his famous battles with public-sector unions in the state.

Tuesday’s results may provide some insight into how those contests will play out later this year.

The statewide nature of the election also provides another astronomical set of data for the midterms more broadly: In preceding special elections and 2017 contests, Democrats fill outperformed expectations in suburban areas, like Pennsylvania’s 18th District, which contains parts of suburban Pittsburgh. Rural turnout for Republicans has also been soft in some places — like in final year’s Alabama special election —without Trump atop the poll.

The answers to these kinds of questions — whether Democrats can fracture into suburban areas in a midterm year, and whether rural turnout is lower than ordinary — give a clearer picture of what the topple could scrutinize like.

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