The GOP’s tendency to nominate retread losers who go on to lose their next elections can have both major and minor consequences, but even the minor cases add up to form major problems.
Take Wisconsin, for example. In 2020, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, a Republican, lost his reelection campaign by 10.5 percentage points. Kelly had never actually won a statewide election in Wisconsin, having been appointed to the seat by then-Gov. Scott Walker in 2016 to replace a retiring justice. With no previous victories and a double-digit loss in a swing state in a presidential election year, you would think that would be enough for Republicans to nominate someone else next time.
They did not. Either due to the familiarity or due to an incredibly weak conservative legal bench in Wisconsin, Republicans nominated Kelly again in 2023 to replace another retiring justice. Instead of losing