Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, Judge Jill Karofsky advance in race for Wisconsin Supreme Court

NOW: Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, Judge Jill Karofsky advance in race for Wisconsin Supreme Court

Updated: 8:55 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18 

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly and Jill Karofsky will face off in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, according to results in the primary on Tuesday, Feb. 18. The two were the top vote-getters in this primary, beating out Marquette University Law School Professor Ed Fallone. 

The race is officially nonpartisan but it's that in name only. The April contest will be yet another proxy battle between conservatives who are backing Kelly and liberals who are backing Karofsky. 

Kelly faces a hurdle in trying to maintain his seat since the April 7 election is the same day as the Democratic presidential primary which presumably will bring out more voters who will side Karofsky. 

However, Kelly was able to raise more funds in the primary and will look to continue that trend heading into April. 

Karofsky told supporters that she's ready for the challenge. 

"We gotta finish this. I am a distance runner but we got a seven-week sprint to the general election we will need all hands on deck in order to win this race," said Karofsky. "The incumbent and his big money special interest machine are gonna throw so much mud at me you're not gonna recognize me seven weeks from tonight."

For Kelly's part, he's hoping his experience on the bench resonates with voters and will use the next seven weeks to build their support and aim to secure his seat for ten more years.

"This is about understanding the proper relationship between the people of Wisconsin, and the role that we have on the Supreme Court and that relationship is between boss and servant and I understand that I am not the boss," Justice Kelly said. 

Conservatives hold a 5-2 majority in the court right now and if Kelly wins, that will hold but if Karofsky comes away with the victory in April, the court will hold a 4-3 conservative majority until at least 2023 -- when the next Supreme Court will be held. 


Published: 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18 

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The only statewide race on Tuesday's spring primary election ballot is for a seat on the state's highest court. 

Click here for current election results.

Three candidates are vying for a ten-year term on the State Supreme Court, where conservatives currently hold a 5-2 majority. The result of the race in the spring will determine if that majority holds or shrinks. 

Current Justice Daniel Kelly is facing challenges from Dane County Circuit Court Judge Jill Karofsky and Marquette University Law Professor Ed Fallone. 

Kelly was appointed by former Governor Scott Walker in 2016, after former Justice David Prosser retired. While the race is officially nonpartisan, Kelly has the backing of conservatives while Karofsky and Fallone primarily have the backing of liberals.

This is the third consecutive year of State Supreme Court races but there won't be another one until 2023. 

The top two vote-getters in Tuesday's contest will move on to the spring election on April 7. 

CBS 58 will bring you results of the race as soon as they come in. 

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