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Ziegler, Clifford will face off

Ziegler

Ziegler receives 57% of primary votes, Clifford gets 27%, Sommers drops with 16%

On Feb. 20, voters decisively picked the pair of candidates who will compete in this spring’s election for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Washington County Circuit Court Judge Annette K. Ziegler and Madison attorney Linda M. Clifford garnered the necessary votes to advance to the April 3 general election, while Oregon, Wis., attorney Joseph Sommers came in a distant third.

Both Ziegler and Clifford called the night a success, though Ziegler more than doubled the vote total of Clifford.

“I was surprised and very grateful for the support in the primary,” said Ziegler. “I certainly didn’t take anything for granted, but having been out to all 72 counties and talking with people, I think the results reaffirmed their idea of what type of person should be on the Supreme Court.”

More than 164,500 ballots were cast for Ziegler, compared to more than 78,300 for Clifford and about 44,700 for Sommers, who was unavailable for comment.

Clifford

Clifford dismissed the voting disparity and believed the candidates “start from ground zero,” going into the general election.

“Our singular goal was to make it through the primary and we have succeeded in that,” said Clifford. “We will now dedicate our resources toward being successful again on April 3.”

One of the more publicized aspects of the non-partisan race has centered on the candidates political leanings. Ziegler has been characterized as more conservative, while Clifford has been linked to more liberal organizations.

The two have downplayed the portrayals and Ziegler admitted to sending a “clean campaign pledge” to Clifford the morning after the primary.

Clifford said she would review the paperwork, but her initial response was that it was “fairly limited” and “hypocritical” in its content. She specifically referred to earlier references made by Ziegler’s camp concerning Clifford’s impartiality.

“I’d be willing to negotiate, but it needs to include far more elements,” said Clifford.

The winner of the spring election will serve a 10-year term and succeed Justice Jon P. Wilcox, who is retiring at the end of July.

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