By SCOTT BAUER
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky said Tuesday she is planning to run next year for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat currently held by one of the court’s conservative members.
Karofksy said in an email that she is organizing a team for the planned run and will have an announcement “in the coming weeks.”
The election next year will be for the seat currently held by Justice Dan Kelly, who is part of the court’s 4-3 conservative majority. That will increase to 5-2 in August when Brian Hagedorn, who won the April 2 election, takes his seat.
His victory ensures that conservatives will hold majority control of the court until at least 2023.
A win by the conservative candidate in 2020 would keep their majority at 5-2, while a liberal win would shave it back to 4-3. Supreme Court races are nonpartisan in name only, with partisan interests traditionally spending heavily on both sides.
Kelly was appointed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker in 2016. Kelly told The Associated Press after Hagedorn’s win that he expects to run for a full 10-year term next year. He did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Karofsky’s announcement.
Marquette University Law School professor Ed Fallone has also announced that he is running for the seat. Fallone previously ran in 2013 and had Democratic support. He announced his bid for the seat before Hagedorn won.
Fallone said he welcomed Karofsky into the race, “but the voters of Wisconsin will ultimately recognize that I am the best candidate to replace Justice Kelly and restore the integrity and independence that once was the hallmark of our state Supreme Court.”
Fallone would be the first candidate elected to the Supreme Court who is not a sitting judge in nearly 40 years.
Karofsky won election to an open seat on the Dane County court in 2017. She was endorsed by former Democratic Govs. Jim Doyle and Tony Earl in that race. She was working at the state Department of Justice as the violence against women prosecutor and leader of the Office of Crime Victim Services before being elected to the court.
She previously worked as an assistant and deputy district attorney in Dane County from 1992 to 2001.