Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Lisa Neubauer has conceded and, in so doing, has made a surprising excuse for her stunning loss to Brian Hagedorn: special interest money.
The irony can't possibly be that lost on her, could it? Up until a last-second $1 million ad buy on behalf of Hagedorn from the Republican State Leadership Committee, outside spending favored Neubauer by a 23-1 margin.
"Of the six outside groups spending in the state Supreme Court race, five are spending to help elect Neubauer, according to campaign finance records compiled by the liberal-leaning Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and released Friday," the Journal Sentinel reported on March 6th. "Labor unions and groups supporting Democratic interests are spending $401,040 on television, digital and mail advertising and door-to-door canvassing for Neubauer."
That included a portion of the planned $350,000 in spending from former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's National Democratic Redistricting Committee. Less than two weeks later, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin announced a $100,000 digital ad campaign on Neubauer's behalf.
By March 22nd, outside groups had spent a total of $1.2 million in support of the Neubauer campaign, including a whopping $835,000 from the Greater Wisconsin Committee alone. By way of comparison, Americans for Prosperity was the only group supporting Hagedorn with $87,000.
At the outset of the race, Neubauer condemned outside spending in Supreme Court races, calling it "toxic."
“You know it runs down the court system in the minds of the public. It really undermines the public’s confidence in our judicial system and we only have the confidence of the public in our court system that it’s going to be fair and impartial,” she told WISN 12's Mike Gousha. “So I have called on outside money to stay out and I hope they will.”
She later said she didn't want Holder's support and would recuse herself from cases involving his group, but remained silent on the other groups supporting her candidacy. Obviously, those groups gave her a tremendous advantage for nearly the entire race. Now, however, she is blaming outside spending for her loss.
Voters, it seems, have a sense of poetic justice.