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Voting absentee? Here are the contested judicial races on April 7 ballots

As Wisconsin encounters lawsuits to delay the April 7 election because of coronavirus concerns, a federal district court ordered a deadline extension to give people more time to register to vote online and request an absentee ballot.

Wisconsinites have until Monday to register online. The change allows for more online votes, and therefore, less in-person contact at the polls during the pandemic.

On the ballots for April are a number of contested judicial races, including for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The following list provides information about the candidates running in contested judicial races. A complete list of judicial races across the state is available here.

Wisconsin Supreme Court

Dan Kelly (Incumbent)

Jill Karofsky

Court of Appeals District 2

Lisa Neubauer (Incumbent)

  • Elected to the Court of Appeals in 2008 and reelected in 2014
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court appointed her to serve as the Chief Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in 2015 and re-appointed her in May 2018.
  • Her campaign website said she is seeking reelection because “I care about making sure our courts keep our communities safe and uphold the rule of law.”
  • Campaign website
  • Related stories:

Paul Bugenhagen Jr.

  • Bugenhagen was elected to the Waukesha County bench in 2015.
  • He presides over the Waukesha County’s family and probate court divisions and was made head of the family court division in 2018.
  • Judge Paul Bugenhagen Jr.’s campaign website said he is running for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals because “Wisconsin deserves a judge who will uphold the rule of law and our Constitution — including the religious liberties of all Wisconsinites.”
  • Campaign website
  • Related stories:

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Branch 5

Paul Dedinsky (Incumbent)

Brett Blomme

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Branch 29
Dan Gabler (Incumbent)

  • Appointed to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court by Gov. Scott Walker in 2018
  • Previously served as the chairman of the Wisconsin Parole Commission and as an assistant district attorney in Milwaukee County
  • Gabler said his judicial philosophy is rooted in the law and the principles of responsibility, civility and maturity.
  • Campaign website

Rebecca Kiefer

  • Assistant district attorney in Milwaukee County
  • Has served as a Milwaukee County assistant district attorney for more than 15 years
  • Kiefer said she is running because she has the qualifications, experience and values to serve as a judge.
  • Campaign website

Waukesha County Circuit Court Branch 5
(Judge Lee S. Dreyfus, Jr. filed a notification of noncandidacy)

Jack Melvin

  • Attorney with the Labor and Industry Review Commission
  • Previously served as the Division Administrator for Gaming for the State of Wisconsin
  • Melvin said after serving in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, he had a renewed appreciation for the rule of law and experienced the importance of the pursuit of justice.
  • Campaign website

Sarah A. Ponath

  • Attorney at Law Offices of Sarah A. Ponath who focuses on business law, real estate law and estate planning
  • Also spent nearly 20 years in business roles involving debt collection and remediation, employee supervision, business operations and financing
  • Ponath said she is running because she wanted to continue giving back to her community and resolve disputes, with the goal of influencing people to make positive changes in their lives.
  • Campaign website

Brown County Circuit Court Branch 8

Beau G. Liegeois (Incumbent)

Andy Williams

Chippewa County Circuit Court Branch 3
(Judge Steven R. Cray filed a notification of noncandidacy)

Benjamin Lane

Sharon Gibbs McIlquham

Dodge County Circuit Court Branch 4
(Judge Steven G. Bauer filed a notification of noncandidacy)

James T. Sempf

Kristine A. Snow

Florence and Forest Counties Circuit Court Judge

Leon D. Stenz (Incumbent)

Robert A. Kennedy, Jr

Marinette County Circuit Court Branch 1
(Judge David G. Miron filed a notification of noncandidacy)

Mike Perry

Jane Kopish Sequin

About Michaela Paukner, mpaukner@wislawjournal.com

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at mpaukner@wislawjournal.com.

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