MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A conservative-backed incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court justice running for re-election is renting space from the state Republican Party and getting help from the GOP in circulating his nomination papers, in the latest signs of how partisan the races have become in recent years.
Justice Dan Kelly’s close relationship with Republicans was reported by the Wisconsin State Journal on Thursday. Both of Kelly’s opponents, Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky and Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone, are backed by liberals. But the Democratic Party is not helping either of them circulate papers or renting office space to them.
There is nothing illegal about the state GOP assisting Kelly and the party has been involved in past Supreme Court campaigns. It, for instance, has helped conservative candidates gather signatures required to get on the ballot. Democrats and liberal groups have also long supported candidates in the races, which are nonpartisan in name only.
Both Karofsky and Fallone spoke at the state Democratic Party convention earlier this year. Brian Hagedorn, a conservative elected to the court in April, spoke at the Republican convention.
The Supreme Court now has a 5-2 conservative majority.