April’s state Supreme Court race will be between Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock and Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet, after the two advanced out of a three-way primary Tuesday. Madison attorney Tim Burns, whose campaign focused heavily on his Democratic leanings, was eliminated after coming in third.
Screnock called his win proof that voters want a fair and impartial judiciary. “The next justice of our Supreme Court needs to be one that will uphold the rule of law, that will respect the separation of powers, and that will interpret the constitution as it was originally intended…and not be a justice that’s looking to invent new rights or be creative from the bench,” he said.
Dallet also argued her focus on being impartial played a role in her victory. “I think my message of experience and values really resonated with the people of the state,” she said. “They are tired of the special interest money that has poured into our state – they want to fight back.”
While unofficial returns show Screnock receiving the most votes in Tuesday’s non-partisan primary, Dallet and Burns were widely seen to be competing for the same block of voters – those with more Democratic leanings. The two combined received thousands of votes more than the more conservative-aligned Screnock, although he contends he’s not worried about that carrying over to the general election in six weeks. “When you look at the campaigns they were running, it was clear that they were running against each other,” Screnock said in an interview with WRN. “I ran into voters…who believed that they had a primary and I did not.”
Screnock also noted that the primary is typically a low turn-out election, and he expects more voters to get involved before the general election on April 3rd.