With a new year, comes a new batch of state legislators. Thousands of legislators will be sworn into office this month. In the November 2018 general elections, 322 incumbent legislators were defeated. Including the incumbents who retired or were defeated in primaries, the 2019 legislative sessions will see 1,599 new state legislators taking their oath of office. The new legislators reflect 21.7% of all state legislators nationwide.
Lisa Neubauer and Brian Hagedorn, both sitting judges on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, filed to run for the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat currently held by retiring Justice Shirley Abrahamson. Abrahamson, the first woman to serve on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, was appointed to her seat by a Democratic governor more than four decades ago.
Although state Supreme Court elections in Wisconsin are nonpartisan, liberal and conservative groups typically coalesce around specific candidates. Conservatives, who back Hagedorn, currently hold a 4-3 majority on the court.
The next election after 2019 will be in 2020 for Dan Kelly’s seat. Kelly was appointed to the court in 2016 by Gov. Scott Walker (R). If liberals retain Abrahamson’s seat this year, the election in 2020 could will be a battle for control of the court.
With only two candidates running as of Wednesday’s filing deadline, Neubauer and Hagedorn will proceed directly to the general election on April 2.