Liberal-leaning Jill Karofsky wins 10-year seat on Wisconsin Supreme Court
Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky has defeated incumbent Justice Dan Kelly to win a 10-year seat on the state Supreme Court.
The race was officially nonpartisan but Democrats backed Karofsky and Republicans supported Kelly.
“I want to send a heartfelt thank you to the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who made their voice heard in this unprecedented election," Karofsky said in a statement after declaring victory in the race Monday evening.
Kelly conceded soon after, writing in a release that “It has been the highest honor of my career to serve the people of Wisconsin on their Supreme Court these past four years. Obviously I had hoped my service would continue for another decade, but tonight's results make clear that God has a different plan for my future."
Karofsky was on the offensive for most of the campaign. She accused Kelly of being corrupt because he consistently sides with conservative groups before the court. She also criticized GOP leaders' handling of the 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," she said, according to the release.
Karofsky's victory narrows the conservative majority on the court to 4-3 and gives liberals a chance to take control of the court the next time a seat comes up in 2023.
Justice Daniel Kelly also released a statement on Monday evening writing he was honored to serve for the past four years.
"Obviously I had hoped my service would continue for another decade, but tonight's results make clear that God has a different plan for my future," said Kelly. "I congratulate Judge Karofsky and wish her well as she assumes the responsibilities of this important office."
Justice Kelly went on to share he will finish out his term in earnest.
"As the campaign comes to its close, the work of the Court continues," said Kelly. "My term ends on July 31, and I will dedicate every day from now until then to finishing well in my service to this state."