Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly and Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky are advancing to the April 7 Spring Election. Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone even failed to win his home county of Milwaukee and finished a distant third.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly addresses supporters at The Golden Mast restaurant on Election night. Photo by John Graber and used with permission.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly addresses supporters at The Golden Mast restaurant on Election night. Photo by John Graber and used with permission.

Kelly, the conservative in the race, received as much of the vote as his two liberals opponents combined, according to the vote tally by the Associated Press. Kelly received 50.1%, Karofsky received 37.2% and Fallone received 12.7%.

However, it will be a different electorate on April 7. The election between Karofsky and Kelly will be the same day as Wisconsin’s presidential primary. While the Democratic presidential primary promises to still be competitive, Wisconsin Republicans prevented anyone else from appearing on the ballot with President Donald Trump. Democrats should have a turnout advantage.

Adding to the Democrats’ turnout advantage, Milwaukee County and the city of Milwaukee will both have competitive elections for county executive and mayor respectively.

Kelly thanked his supporters in a statement after the election results became known.

“Tonight’s results prove that Wisconsinites are passionate about preserving their constitution and upholding the rule of law on their Supreme Court,” Kelly said. “This has been my commitment to my bosses – the people of Wisconsin – since I came to the court, and I am so thankful for their support. The results also demonstrate the power of our grassroots volunteers who have selflessly spent their nights and weekends engaging with voters about the importance of this race. Your support, enthusiasm, and energy has given our campaign the momentum we need — momentum that will lead us to victory on April 7th!”

Karofsky also thanked her supporters in a statement Tuesday.

“Thank you to those who organized, donated, and supported this campaign. We’ve come a long way, but this is just the beginning,” Karofsky said. “Tonight, hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites said they want a Supreme Court free of corruption and special interest influence.”

The statement about corruption is a repeat of an earlier attack that caused Kelly to demand Karovsky apologize, calling her statement “disgusting” and “slander.”

Kelly was appointed by former Governor Scott Walker in 2016 to replace retired Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. Kelly is running in his first election for his own ten-year term as a Supreme Court Justice.

The Supreme Court is currently divided 5-2 in favor of conservatives.