MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s right-wing political machine poured unprecedented resources into a state Supreme Court primary election. Despite a massive spending advantage and no other conservative opposition, the hand-picked candidate of Gov. Scott Walker failed to snag a majority of the vote. In fact, progressive candidates garnered nearly 40,000 more votes than the right wing’s Michael Screncock.
“Gov. Walker, his right-wing political machine, state special interests and even the NRA were all in on Michael Screnock,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “They massively outspent the progressives in the race, but when the votes were counted, the right wing’s Michael Screnock massively underperformed.”
According to initial election results, over 534,000 votes were cast in the Primary Election and nearly 54 percent went to the two progressive candidates in the race. The lone conservative Michael Screnock lagged behind by nearly 40,000 votes.
The right-wing machine in Wisconsin put on an all out blitz for Screnock. In addition to at least $142,000 in direct support for Screnock from Scott Walker’s Republican Party of Wisconsin, the state big business lobby the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the right-wing dark money outfit the Wisconsin Alliance for reform dropped over $660,000 on statewide tv and radio advertising. The national gun lobby weighed in too with direct mail from the NRA on Screnock’s behalf and Republicans from the state congressional delegation, all the way up to U.S. Senator Ron Johnson were making robocalls for him.
The lackluster showing at the polls by the conservative candidate may also be attributable to his own background and performance on the campaign trail.
While touting himself as a law and order candidate who won’t interject personal beliefs into his decisions, Screnock was arrested, twice, for interposing his views on the rights of others by literally blocking women from accessing legal health care services. When arrested, he failed to cooperate with law enforcement and was also charged for giving a false name. In a media interview Screnock said he had no regrets for his actions.
Voters are also right to be concerned with who Screnock would be working for on the state high court. At a recent forum, the recipient of the massive right-wing spending, refused to support reforming court rules to require judges recuse themselves from cases involving parties that contributed large sums to their campaigns.
Screnock has also refused to be forthcoming with voters, refusing to publicly disclose a letter he sent to the National Rifle Association on what he promised the gun lobby in exchange for their support.
Ross concluded. “Last night’s results show enthusiasm remains on the side of progressives in Wisconsin. After their historic loss in a state Senate race in January, Scott Walker and his gang failed to get it done again at the polls with the lackluster performance of Michael Screnock.”