Conservative Judge Brian Hagedorn is declaring victory over liberal Judge Lisa Neubauer in a race to fill a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which looms as a likely battleground in the next decade's fight over partisan gerrymandering.
But Hagedorn, who was chief legal counsel to Republican Scott Walker for five years of his governorship, led by just 5,911 votes out of 1.2 million cast in complete but unofficial results. That margin of less than half a percentage point is close enough for the Democrat to request a recount, but she would have to pay for it.
If Hagedorn prevails he would be part of a 5-2 majority on the court and represent a big setback for the state's liberals, who picked up a seat on the state's top court and engineered Walker's defeat last fall. And much of the national interest in the race, and a significant amount of donations to the candidates, was because the partisan divide on the court will be important after the next round of redistricting starts in 2021.
"After the 2020 census, lawmakers in the bitterly divided state will have their next chance to draw up congressional and state legislative districts. If — or, more likely, when — lawsuits are filed over those maps, the state Supreme Court will have the final word on whether they pass muster," Talking Points Memo wrote. "In swing states from Wisconsin to North Carolina, redistricting has emerged as a focus in these less-covered, increasingly pricey contests. With varying degrees of candor, lawmakers and operatives are making it clear they're looking at state Supreme Court races with 2021 redistricting in mind."
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RepresentUs acquired 8,000 signatures on a petition asking Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to keep working on a "revolving door" bill. Paula Barkan, Austin chapter leader of RepresentUs, handed the petition to Brandon Simon, Cruz's Central Texas regional director, on July 31.
Remember that tweet exchange in May between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the one where they discussed bipartisan legislation to ban former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists?
To recap: Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for legislation banning the practice in light of a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen, which found that nearly 60 percent of lawmakers who recently left Congress had found jobs with lobbying firms. Cruz tweeted back, extending an invitation to work on such a bill. Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Let's make a deal."
The news cycle being what it is, it's easy to forget how the media jumped on the idea of the Texas Republican and the New York Democrat finding common ground on a government ethics proposal. Since then, we've collectively moved on — but not everyone forgot.
The government reform group RepresentUs recently drafted a petition asking Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez to follow through on their idea, gathering more than 8,000 signatures.
Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.
While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."