Liberal-Backed Candidate Beats Trump-Endorsed Incumbent for Wisconsin Supreme Court Seat

April 13, 2020 Updated: April 13, 2020

Liberal-backed challenger Jill Karofsky won a hotly contested race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday, beating a conservative-backed incumbent in state elections.

Karofsky upset Daniel Kelly, who was endorsed by Republican President Donald Trump, for a 10-year court term that could help decide future voting rights and redistricting issues in Wisconsin, a vital general election battleground.

The Supreme Court race highlighted a slate of thousands of elections held last week for state and local offices, as well as a presidential primary. The release of the results was delayed by court order until Monday, the deadline for receiving absentee ballots.

Karofsky more than doubled Kelly’s vote totals in Milwaukee, and outpaced recent Democratic performances in many rural and more conservative counties.

The result narrows to 4-3 the conservative-backed majority on the non-partisan Wisconsin Supreme Court, with the next seat up for election in 2023. The court is expected soon to decide a case that seeks to purge more than 200,000 people from Wisconsin’s voter rolls.

By John Whitesides