Across the US, elections are being closely watched to see if clues can be gleaned as to how the 2018 midterms will go and Wisconsin gave Democrats another notch Tuesday. Rebecca Dallet, a liberal Milwaukee County judge, was elected over conservative Judge Michael Screnock of Sauk County to the state's Supreme Court, in what the New York Times deems a "matter of intense interest" as the midterms approach in Wisconsin, which Donald Trump carried in 2016 in the first GOP presidential victory in decades. Fortune notes another important aspect of Dallet's win, which came with a 56% majority: The state's Supreme Court goes from a 5-2 conservative majority to a 4-3 one, and six of the seven justices are now women.
The party lines were explicitly drawn in this race, though judgeship races are meant to be nonpartisan: Dallet had strong Democratic support, including from former AG Eric Holder and ex-VP Joe Biden, while Screnock had endorsements from Wisconsin's GOP and the NRA. Although one strategist tells the Times that spring elections are very "different animals" than the midterms, such a win can still serve as a motivator for both sides. Critical seats are up for grabs in November in Wisconsin, including that of Rep. Paul Ryan (although Vox says seizing his spot would be a "reach"), Dem Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and the governorship, currently held by the GOP's Scott Walker. Walker, for one, seems like he might be worried. "Tonight's results show we are at risk of a #BlueWave in WI," he tweeted Tuesday. "The Far Left is driven by anger & hatred—we must counter it with optimism & organization." (Read more Wisconsin stories.)