Lisa Neubauer Concedes Wisconsin Supreme Court Race To Brian Hagedorn

Apr 10, 2019

Updated on April 10 at 12:41 p.m. CT

Wisconsin Appeals Judge Lisa Neubauer, who was backed by Democrats, conceded Wednesday in the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court. Neubauer issued a statement, saying she called her opponent, conservative Appeals Judge Brian Hagedorn, and "wished him the best." 

Unofficial results from the April 2 election showed Hagedorn with a half-percentage point lead, and the race was too close to call. Neubauer indicated she would request a recount, something her campaign would have had to pay for. In conceding, Neubauer admitted that the official canvass of the vote would not measurably change the outcome.

Original Story April 3

Wisconsin's Supreme Court race is up in the air. Tuesday's election between conservative Appeals Judge Brian Hagedorn and Appeals Judge Lisa Neubauer, who was backed by Democrats, was too close to call by Wednesday morning, with Hagedorn holding a 5,800 vote margin with nearly 100 percent of the unofficial vote tallied. More than 1 million votes were cast.

Hagedorn declared victory Wednesday morning, calling the half-point difference "insurmountable." But, the margin allows the trailing candidate to request a recount.

Neubauer issued a statement Wednesday morning asking for volunteers to help with a recount. She says "this isn't the outcome we hoped for, but with the vote total neck and neck, it looks like we're heading into a potential recount."

Wisconsin is no stranger to recounts. In 2011, Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Joanne Kloppenburg requested one after she narrowly lost to then-incumbent Justice David Prosser. The recount upheld Kloppenburg's loss. In 2016, Wisconsin and two other states saw a recount following the presidential election that Donald Trump won. That recount also failed.

UW-Milwaukee professor emeritus Mordecai Lee says recounts rarely change things significantly.

"In Wisconsin, I guess you could say the quality of election night reporting is getting so much better that when there are recounts, it changes very few votes and it doesn't change outcomes," Lee says.

Neubauer outraised Hagedorn by significant margins and received strong outside help as liberals hoped to position themselves for a court takeover next year. That's now in doubt because if Hagedorn's lead holds, the court would lean 5-2 conservative.