Democrat-backed candidate wins Wisconsin Supreme Court race

Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky unseated Justice Daniel Kelly in a hotly contested race for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat last week that drew national attention from both major political parties, according to Monday evening reports.

The Wisconsin primaries took place April 7 despite multiple legal challenges that wound their way to the state and U.S. supreme courts. The Wisconsin Supreme Court was largely responsible for the election going forward as planned last week after it overruled an order by Gov. Tony Evers (D) to delay the primary until June 9. A move to extend absentee ballot voting was also largely rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 6.

In a statement Monday night, Karofsky sent a "heartfelt thank you to the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who made their voice heard in this unprecedented election."


"Although we were successful in this race, the circumstances under which this election was conducted were simply unacceptable, and raise serious concerns for the future of our democracy. Nobody in this state or in this country should have been forced to choose between their safety and participating in an election. Too many were unable to have their voices heard because they didn’t feel safe leaving their home or their absentee ballots weren’t counted," she added.

While the race was technically nonpartisan, Karofsky drew support from national Democrats, while the GOP fell in line behind Kelly, who was appointed to the court in 2016 to fill a vacancy and was running for his first full term. 

Karofsky's win will cut the conservative majority in Wisconsin's Supreme Court to 4-3.


Her win comes despite President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE's vocal support of her opponent, including two tweets mentioning Kelly by name just days ahead of the primary.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden chips away at Trump's fundraising advantage The Memo: Trump grows weak as clock ticks down Nina Turner addresses Biden's search for a running mate MORE, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, issued his own endorsement for Karofsky.

"As a trial court judge, a prosecutor, and victim advocate, Judge Karofsky knows that every decision has a real impact on individuals and families across Wisconsin," he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Biden's former top opponent for the nomination, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog accuses Commerce of holding up 'Sharpiegate' report | Climate change erases millennia of cooling: study | Senate nixes proposal limiting Energy Department's control on nuclear agency budget Sanders calls for social distancing, masks and disinfection on planes as flights operate at full capacity Nina Turner addresses Biden's search for a running mate MORE (I-Vt.), also endorsed Karofsky, telling the Journal Sentinel that the next state Supreme Court justice "should stand up for the needs of working people and civil rights, not huge corporate CEO donors."