By Scott Bauer
Candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court campaigned Monday at Miller Park’s opening day, worked the phones and urged volunteers to do all they can to help on the final day before Tuesday’s election.
Turnout is predicted to be about 20 percent, which would be more than double the number who showed up in the February primary. But it would pale to the more than 70 percent turnout in the November presidential election.
Justice Pat Roggensack, seeking her second 10-year term on the state’s highest court, is being challenged by Marquette University law school professor Ed Fallone.
Roggensack spent Monday meeting with employees and company officials of three Milwaukee-area businesses. She planned to attend a campaign rally at her Waukesha office on Monday night, said campaign spokesman Brandon Scholz.
“We’ve worked hard to get voters to be aware of the election and make a decision between a candidate with experience and a candidate who doesn’t have experience,” Scholz said. “We haven’t taken anything for granted and have run the campaign as hard as we can.”
Roggensack has outraised Fallone $498,000 to $314,000 this year, based on the most recent campaign finance reports covering activity through March 18. She’s also been a stronger television presence, with roughly $500,000 spent on her behalf by outside groups Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. No outside groups have advertised on TV for Fallone.
Fallone spent Monday morning teaching before he planned to visit campaign volunteers in the Milwaukee area, said spokesman Brad Wojciechowski. Fallone received only 30 percent of the primary vote compared to 64 percent for Roggensack, but Wojciechowski said there’s since been a momentum shift.
“We’re really comfortable with where we are,” he said.
Roggensack, generally viewed as part of a four justice conservative majority, says her 17 years as a judge makes her the better choice than Fallone, who never has worked as a judge. Fallone says he brings other experience as a law professor and private attorney. And he argues the race is really about trying to fix a dysfunctional Supreme Court.
The highest profile incident on the court came in 2011 when Justice David Prosser placed his hands around the neck of fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley during an argument. Roggensack witnessed it and joined with four other justices in declining to participate in a disciplinary case brought against Prosser. That left the court without a quorum to move forward.
The race is officially nonpartisan, but Republicans and conservatives back Roggensack while Democrats and unions support Fallone. In addition to outraising their opponents, both incumbents have a broader list of individuals and groups endorsing their campaigns than their challengers.