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Walker judicial appointees fail to keep seats, plus more judicial election results

Former Gov. Scott Walker’s judicial appointees didn’t fair well in the April 7 election. Justice Dan Kelly, Milwaukee County Judge Paul Dedinsky and Milwaukee County Judge Dan Gabler, all of whom were seeking full terms, lost to their challengers in the April 7 election.

In the statewide election for Wisconsin Supreme Court, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Jill Karofsky defeated Justice Dan Kelly, appointed by Walker in 2016, by 10 percentage points.

Brett Blomme, Cream City Foundation CEO, won the race for Branch 5 with about 58% of the vote, far above about 42% that Dedinsky got. Milwaukee County assistant district attorney Rebecca Kiefer defeated Gabler by more than 40 percentage points in the race for Branch 29.

Court of Appeals District 2 Judge Lisa Neubauer was re-elected to a third term. She received 54% of the vote, and Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Paul Bugenhagen got 46%.

Wisconsin Supreme Court
Jill Karofsky 855,981 (55%)
Daniel Kelly 692,523 (45%)
3,936 of 3,937 Precincts Reporting

“I’m honored to have earned the trust of people across this state who believe in a tough, fair, and independent judiciary and I promise to never forget these principles as your Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.” Judge Jill Karofsky on Facebook

“It has been the highest honor of my career to serve the people of Wisconsin on their Supreme Court these past four years. Obviously I had hoped my service would continue for another decade, but tonight’s results make clear that God has a different plan for my future.” Justice Dan Kelly on Facebook

Court of Appeals District 2
Lisa Neubauer 231,928 (54%)
Paul Bugenhagen 197,062 (46%)
894 of 894 Precincts Reporting

“The voters spoke, despite what happened last week—overcoming the callous disregard for our people’s legitimate health and safety concerns, coupled with the gross indifference to their constitutional right to vote.” Judge Lisa Neubauer on Facebook

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Branch 5
Brett Blomme 98,925 (58.29%)
Paul Dedinsky 69,871 (41.47%)
Write-In 923 (.54%)
480 of 480 Precincts Reporting

“I look forward to joining justice partners working to make our justice system more equitable, fair and open for everyone in our community.” Brett Blomme on Facebook

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Branch 29
Rebecca Kiefer 122,590 (70.60%)
Dan Gabler 50,497 (29.08%)
Write In 542 (.31%)
480 of 480 Precincts Reporting

“We will find better solutions to make our community stronger, together. I couldn’t have done this without support like yours. I look forward to serving you.” Rebecca Kiefer on Facebook

Waukesha County Circuit Court Branch 5
Jack Melvin 67,793
Sarah A. Ponath 53,056
Write-In Totals 271
Total Votes Cast: 121,120
216 of 216 Precincts Reporting

“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be a judge in such a critical county facing so many critical issues. I hope to be part of the solution to a lot of issues we’re confronting here as a county, so thank you all very much.” Jack Melvin on Facebook

Brown County Circuit Court Branch 8
Andy Williams 23,078 (44.21%)
Beau G. Liegeois 29,034 (55.62%)
Write-In Totals 85 (0.16%)
Total Votes Cast: 52,197
112 of 112 Precincts Reporting

“I love this county, it has always been my home, and I will continue to be a fair, unbiased leader for Brown County.” Judge Beau Liegeois on Facebook

Chippewa County Circuit Court Branch 3
Benjamin Lane 8,837
Sharon Gibbs McIlquham 6,773
Write-In Totals 13

“Our residents have trusted me to make decisions regarding their cases when appearing before me. I will strive to meet your expectations by handling all cases fairly and impartially.” Ben Lane on Facebook

Dodge County Circuit Court Branch 4
James T. Sempf 10,017 (49.09%)
Kristine A. Snow 10,351 (50.73%)
Write-In 36 (.18%)
Total Votes Cast: 20,404
59 of 59 Precincts Reporting

“I know you put your trust in me to be a fair judge and to put my experience to good use. Every day I will remember the reason I am on the bench is because of that trust you have placed in me.” Kristine Snow on Facebook

Florence and Forest Counties Circuit Court Judge
Florence County Results
Leon D. Stenz 686
Robert A. Kennedy, Jr. 674

Forest County Results
Leon D. Stenz 1,522
Robert A. Kennedy, Jr.  1,105
Scattering 3

Marinette County Circuit Court Branch 1
Mike Perry 5,112
Jane Kopish Sequin 5,391
Total Votes Cast: 10,503

“Thank you so much to the voters of Marinette County for the trust and confidence you have placed in me in electing me the next Circuit Court Judge in Marinette County.” Jane Kopish Sequin on Facebook

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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