State News

Wisconsin’s spring primary election headlined by Supreme Court race

Justice Daniel Kelly — appointed by then-Gov. Scott Walker in 2016 — is one of three candidates contesting tonight's Wisconsin Supreme Court primary election. 

Justice Daniel Kelly — appointed by then-Gov. Scott Walker in 2016 — is one of three candidates contesting tonight's Wisconsin Supreme Court primary election. 

Image By: Courtesy of Daniel Kelly Campaign

In Wisconsin’s spring primary election, three candidates are vying for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat which will go a long way in deciding the political leaning of the Court.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Jill Karofsky and Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone are two-liberal leaning candidates running against Justice Daniel Kelly.

Justice Daniel Kelly is the current incumbent after he was appointed to the court in 2016 by then-Gov. Scott Walker.

Kelly previously supported and advanced many conservative causes. He is a member of the Federalist Society and a key figure at Wisconsin Republican party events. Kelley has been endorsed by many high profile Republicans, most notably President Donald Trump.

Kelley raised almost $1 million in the past 13 months — double the money raised by Karfosky and 5 times more than Fallone. 

Challenging Kelly is Dane County Circuit Court Judge Jill Karofsky. Karofsky was elected to the Circuit Court in 2017. Prior to that, she worked as an assistant prosecutor in the Dane County district attorney’s office and as executive director of the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Office of Crime Victims Services.

Although she was critical of politics in the judiciary system, Karofsky supported many liberal causes, such as environmentalism, public education and women’s rights. 

Her campaign secured multiple important endorsements, including those of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Dallet and former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle. 

Currently, Ed Fallone trails behind his fellow candidates. Fallone has taught at Marquette’s law school for 27 years and previously ran for a Supreme Court seat in 2013 where he lost to Chief Justice Patience Roggensack. 

Fallone — who would be the first Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice of Hispanic descent — has sat on the board of Voces de la Frontera, an organization that advocates for the rights of immigrants and worked involved with Centro Legal, a Milwaukee non-profit law firm. 

Fallone has also been critical of partisan politics in the Court, but has been a supporter of traditionally liberal causes, such as women’s rights and criminal justice reform. He also earned the endorsement of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. 

The current Wisconsin Supreme Court has a 5-2 majority in favor of conservatives, which means a win for either side is crucial for securing a majority in the next set of elections. 

The top two vote getters will advance to the general election on April 7. 

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