MADISON — Incumbent Justice Dan Kelly and Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky emerged from a three-way state Supreme Court primary Tuesday, besting Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone to advance to the April general election.
The top two vote-getters earned the right to appear on the April 7 ballot with a 10-year term at stake.
In Jefferson County, Kelly received 5,642 votes for 58.48 percent; Karofsky, 2,926 for 30.33 percent and Fallone, 986 for 10.22 percent.
The Supreme Court race is officially nonpartisan, but Kelly is part of the court's five-member conservative majority. Republicans have thrown their support behind him after then-Gov. Scott Walker appointed him to the bench in 2016 to replace the retiring David Prosser.
Karofsky is a Dane County judge who worked as a crime victim advocate for the state Justice Department. Liberals have thrown their support behind her.
The race has been marked by Kelly and Karofsky's increasingly bitter sparring. Karofsky has accused Kelly of being corrupt, saying he constantly rules in favor of conservative groups. Kelly has insisted that he uses "rigorous logic" to arrive at his rulings and Karofsky is slandering him.
Kelly built an enormous fund-raising advantage over both challengers, generating nearly $1 million over the last 13 months. Karofsky raised almost $414,000 during that span. Fallone had just under $172,000.
The race won't change the court's ideological leaning but a Kelly defeat would shave the conservative majority to 4-3 and give liberals a chance to take over in 2023.
Jaylin Allen-Wallace, a 21-year-old Madison restaurant worker, voted for Karofsky. She said Karofsky is dedicated to upholding civil rights and women's rights in a biased world. She liked Fallone, too, but "I went with someone who has a chance of winning (against Kelly)," she said.
Voters also winnowed the field Tuesday in a pair of primaries for an open seat in northern Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District.
The Republican primary featured a battle between state Sen. Tom Tiffany and retired Army Capt. Jason Church. The Democratic primary matched Tricia Zunker, president of the Wausau school board, against Lawrence Dale, who didn't mount an active campaign.Unofficial results showed Zunker easily defeated Dale. Tiffany and Church were still locked in a close race as the evening wore on, though.
The primary winners will face off in a May 12 special election for the right to replace former U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, who represented the 7th District for nearly eight years before retiring this past September to spend more time with his family. He and his wife, Rachel Campos-Duffy, were reality TV personalities who met on MTV's "The Real World."
Outside groups spent at a record clip on behalf of both Church and Tiffany, making it the most expensive congressional primary in state history.
Tiffany, 62, is running as a proven conservative who voted as a member of the Legislature to advance Walker's agenda, including his signature law that ended collective bargaining for public workers. He also authored a contentious bill that dramatically relaxed the state's iron mining regulations, drawing the ire of environmentalists.
Church, 30, lost his legs to a bomb while he was serving in Afghanistan. He's highlighted his service and painted himself as part of a new generation of conservatives.
Zunker, who doubles as a justice on the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court, is looking to become the first American Indian to represent Wisconsin in Congress.
Tiffany and Church tied themselves closely to President Donald Trump, who carried the 7th by 20 points in 2016. Whoever emerges from the GOP primary will be the heavy favorite to win the seat. The winner will have to run for re-election again in November.
Following are the results of other Jefferson County primaries:
Seven candidates were on the primary ballot for the Village of Palmyra Board of Trustees. With three positions open in April, the top six vote-getters are moving on to the general election.
Sadie Barnes was eliminated from April's ballot, receiving 45 votes for 4.77 percent of the total.
Moving on in April are William Lurvey, 146, 15.47 percent; Julie Powell, 139, 14.82 percent; Nick Troiola, 127, 13.45 percent; Rebecca McAllister, 104, 11.02 percent; Louis J. Nowak, 73, 7.73 percent; and Stephen M. Clubb, 67, 7.1 percent.
Palmyra-Eagle school district
Following two years of turmoil, votes were starting to come in the race for Palmyra-Eagle Area School District Board of Education.
Most of the previous board resigned after it was determined in January the district would not dissolve.
The eight candidate race were to be pared down to six after Tuesday night's race. Doris Parsons and Mitzi Roscizewski are the two candidates being eliminated from the ballot.
Receiving the most votes was Zachary Rutkowski with 503, he was followed by Thomas P. Novak with 489; Tara Leroy with 456; Kristiana Williams with 402; Jean Reith with 396; Michael Eddy with 377; Parsons with 284 and Roscizewski with 195. There were 56 write-in votes.
Lake Mills school district
Three names were on the ballot for two spots on the Lake Mills School District Board of Education. They are those of Amy Litscher, Melissa Roglitz-Walker and Jim Williams.
Since the ballots were printed, Williams had withdrawn from the race.
Litscher received 668 ballots for 45.82 percent; Roglitz-Walker earned 361 for 24.76 percent and Williams received 200 for 13.72 percent.