With 100 percents of precincts reporting in the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court, Appeals Judge Brian Hagedorn leads Appeals Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer by 5,960 votes or 0.5 percent.
Hagedorn declared victory early Wednesday morning. Neubauer had not conceded as of Wednesday. She said in a video statement, “We need to make sure that every last vote is counted and that’s going to take a little time.”
Under Wisconsin state law, a losing candidate may request a recount if the margin is 1 percent of the total votes cast or less.
The partisan balance of the court for the next four years could be determined by the result of this election. Although state Supreme Court elections in Wisconsin are officially nonpartisan, liberal and conservative groups typically coalesce around specific candidates. Conservatives, who currently have a 4-3 majority on the court, back Hagedorn. Liberals support Neubauer.
If Hagedorn wins, conservatives will expand their majority on the court to 5-2 and keep control until at least 2023. If a recount results in a Neubauer win, liberals have a chance to flip the court in 2020, when Justice Dan Kelly, who was appointed to the court by Gov. Scott Walker (R), will stand for election for the first time that year.