by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
There’s no sugarcoating the fact last week’s Wisconsin Supreme Court election was a complete disaster for Republicans. In one of the nation’s most hotly-contested battleground states, Republican Daniel Kelly lost to Democrat Janet Protasiewicz by 11 points, meaning Democrats will now control the state’s highest court for the first time in 15 years. With cases regarding abortion, election integrity, and governmental overreach likely to be heard before the court in the coming years, Protasiewicz’s win is devastating for conservatives in the Badger State.
Given the high-stakes nature of the election, one would expect prominent conservatives to be raising the alarm about the race’s local and national implications. Yet, in the weeks leading up to the critically important election, the 2024 GOP presidential primary consumed the attention of leading conservative figures. While Republicans were busy fighting one another about who would make the best candidate to take on President Joe Biden in 2024, Democrats were laser-focused on taking control of Wisconsin’s highest court. …
… Kelly’s humiliating defeat should serve as a wake-up call to Republican and conservative figures that forgoing state and local politics in favor of the next national contest is a failing strategy. Instead of hyperventilating over the next presidential primary or midterm, conservatives should be reorienting their focus towards state and local races that can provide citizens with mechanisms to push back against federal overreach.
In order to avoid more electoral disasters like that in Wisconsin, The Federalist has compiled a list of the most significant elections taking place in 2023 that conservatives should begin mobilizing for right now.
While the 2022 midterms resulted in Democrats gaining a one-seat majority in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, a series of special elections next month give Republicans an opportunity to take back control of the state’s lower chamber.