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Voters hand Walker appointees mixed results in judicial races (UPDATE)

Voters on Tuesday ousted three judicial appointees of Gov. Scott Walker, but also elected four others initially chosen to serve by the Republican last year.

Incumbent Circuit Court Judges Nelson Phillips (Milwaukee County), Mike Nieskes, (Racine County) and Roger Allen (Dane County) all lost to challengers by at least a 10-percent margin.

Phillips, appointed to Branch 17 last October, fell to Milwaukee attorney Carolina Stark, an administrative law judge with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, by almost 14,000 votes.

Walker appointed Nieskes, the former Racine County District Attorney, in December. He lost to Racine attorney Michael Piontek by more than 3,600 votes.

Allen, also appointed in December, lost to Madison attorney Ellen Berz of the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office, by more than 10,000 votes.

But not all recent Walker appointees will see their judicial tenure end on Aug. 1.

Calumet County Judge Jeff Froelich, Kenosha County Judge Jason Rossell, Manitowoc County Judge Gary Bendix and Menominee-Shawano Judge William Kussel Jr. all won six-year terms after initial appointments last fall.

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