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Conservatives secure majority on Wisconsin's Supreme Court

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Liberal candidate for one of the court's seven seats concedes on Wednesday

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A conservative has won a seat on Wisconsin's Supreme Court on Wednesday when his opponent conceded defeat, guaranteeing a conservative majority for years to come.

What's the story?

Thanks to Judge Brian Hagedorn's victory, conservatives will now have a 5-2 majority on Wisconsin's Supreme Court.

"Judge Hagedorn said that he was running to get partisan influences out of our courts," liberal judge Lisa Neubauer said in a statement conceding defeat. "[A]nd I hope he lives up to his promise."

Hagedorn won his election by 6,000 votes. This is a close enough margin to justify a recount, but Neubauer has decided not to pursue this option. Neubauer will remain on the Court of Appeals.

"I am deeply humbled and grateful that the people of Wisconsin have placed their trust in me," Hagedorn said in an email to supporters, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "I said that partisan politics has no place at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, that I would protect the public, and that our job is to uphold the Constitution as written. I meant every word, and I will endeavor to fulfill these promises with all my ability."

He will replace Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who was a liberal.

Wisconsin is largely considered to be a swing state in 2020. Trump won a surprising (and narrow) upset in the state in 2016, a state which Hillary Clinton had considered to be so much of a sure thing that she failed to campaign there. However, Republican Scott Walker lost the governorship in 2018 to Democrat Tony Evers.

Trump tweeted his congratulations to Hagedorn on April 5, but it would take another 5 days before Neubauer would concede defeat.

What else?

Liberals had been hoping to upset the conservative majority on the court.

"It is absolutely critical we win this race," liberal attorney Tim Burns, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate himself, told The Associated Press in April. "It does set us up for next year to get a court that's likely to look very differently on issues of the day like voters' rights and gerrymandering."

After the election, liberal outlets were predictably disappointed. Slate noted that this conservative majority could not be undone until August 2023 at the earliest.

The far-left Daily Kos griped that this would contribute to a "brazen, years-long plot" of gerrymandering by Republicans "to stymie the will of the majority of voters precisely because they know the judiciary won't check them."

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