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Government, private attorneys victorious in contested races for circuit court judge

Voters in counties with contested races for circuit courts made sure on Tuesday there will be some new faces on the bench, although some incumbents also managed to hold onto their seats.

Jill Karofsky, a lawyer at the state Department of Justice, beat her challenger Marilyn Townsend, a labor attorney, in the race for Dane County Circuit Court Branch 12.

In Milwaukee County, two local practitioners dueled for a seat on Branch 47. In the end, Kashoua Yang defeated Scott Wales, also a Fox Point municipal judge. Yang is the state’s first woman Asian-American judge.

In Washington County, Circuit Court Judge Todd Martens held onto his seat, and in Waupaca County, Assistant State Public Defender Troy Nielsen beat out the New London-based attorney Eric Hendrickson for the seat on Branch 1.

In Vernon County, the Westby-based attorney Darcy Rood defeated district attorney Timothy Gaskell for a seat on that county’s circuit court.

There were more than 50 state judicial seats up for election across the state Tuesday. Of those races, 11 were contested. Statewide, about 16 percent of Wisconsin’s eligible voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s election. Below are the complete results of the state’s judicial races.

Burnett County Circuit Court

Melissia Mogen, Siren attorney – 63 percent, 1850 votes

David Grindell, Frederic attorney – 36.9 percent 1085 votes

Dane County Circuit Court, Branch 12

Marilyn Townsend, Madison labor attorney – 42.2 percent , 37,108 votes

Jill Karofksy, executive director of the state Department of Justice’s Office of Crime Victim Services – 57.5 percent, 50,577 votes

Dodge County Circuit Court, Branch 2

Martin De Vries, incumbent, Gov. Scott Walker’s appointee to the bench – 64 percent, 7,987 votes

Randall Doyle, Beaver Dam attorney – 35.9 percent, 4,476 votes

Kenosha County Circuit Court, Branch 7

Jodi Meier, incumbent, Walker’s appointee to the bench – 85 percent, 12386 votes

John Ward, Kenosha attorney – 15 percent, 2,145 votes

Manitowoc County Circuit Court, Branch 3 

Bob Dewane, assistant district attorney for Manitowoc County – 54.9 percent, 7,546 votes

Patricia Koppa, Manitowoc register in probate – 45 percent, 6187 votes

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Branch 12

Kashoua Yang, Milwaukee attorney, took 57.2 percent, 49,394 votes

Scott Wales, Fox Point municipal judge and Milwaukee attorney, 42.5 percent, or 36,732 votes.

Polk County Circuit Court, Branch 1

  • Daniel Tolan, incumbent appointed by Walker – 60 percent, 4,839 votes
  • Malia Malone, Polk County corporation counsel – 39.9 percent 3,218 votes

Trempealeau County Circuit Court

  • Rian Radtke, corporation counsel attorney – 52.3 percent, 2856 votes
  • Rick Schaumberg, Osseo attorney – 47.5 percent, 2594 votes

Vernon County Circuit Court

  • Darcy Rood, attorney at Abt Law office in Westby – 86.4 percent, 3,253 votes
  • Timothy Gaskell, Vernon County district attorney – 66.7 percent, 2,512 votes

Washington County Circuit Court, Branch 3

  • Judge Todd Martens, incumbent – 73.3 percent, 8,903 votes
  • Robert Olson, West Bend attorney – 26.4 percent 3,210 votes

Waupaca County Circuit Court, Branch 1

  • Troy Nielsen, assitant state public defender – 63.7 percent, 4,522 votes
  • Eric Hendrickson, attorney at New London-based Werner, Johnson and Hendrickson – 36.2 percent, .2 2568 votes
  • Dennis Krueger, Fond du Lac deputy district attorney (write-in) – 0.1 percent, 5 votes

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to add missing digits in the percentage of votes for winning candidates starting at Trempealeau County. 

About Erika Strebel, [email protected]

Erika Strebel is the law beat reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal and a law school student at UW-Madison. She can be reached at 414-225-1825.

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