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September 01, 2020 10:27am
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Wisconsin Supreme Court race: Janet Protasiewicz defeats former Justice Dan Kelly to secure liberal majority

Liberal Milwaukee judge Janet Protasiewic, has been declared the winner in a high-stakes contest to decide the Wisconsin Supreme Court majority.

Democratic-backed Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz has won a crucial seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, defeating Republican-backed former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly. The Associated Press called the race just after 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The court will now be controlled 4-3 by left-leaning justices for at least the next two years. During that time, the court is expected to decide on a pending lawsuit challenging the state’s 1849 law banning abortion.

Protasiewicz, 60, described herself as feeling "delighted and thrilled" after voters elected her in the consequential contest that gave the court's liberal members a majority for the first time in 15 years.

"I feel great. I could not feel better," Protasiewicz told The Associated Press after the win. "I am surprised by the results and the magnitude of the victory here. We are absolutely delighted and thrilled."


The race and subsequent outcome are also expected to have implications for issues including election rules and the drawing of districts for elected office in the state ahead of the 2024 presidential election. 

The previous 4-3 conservative-controlled court came within one vote of overturning President Joe Biden’s win in the state in 2020.

Wisconsin's Supreme Court race was the most expensive in U.S. history, topping $42 million and nearly tripling the previous national record for a court race, The AP reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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