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State Supreme Court primary will narrow field to two

MADISON (WKOW) -- Voters will decide on two candidates for Wisconsin's Supreme Court in the primary election Tuesday.

Liberal-leaning candidates Jill Karofsky and Ed Fallone are challenging incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly, appointed by Former Gov. Scott Walker in 2016.

Kelly said he plans to continue focusing on how to best make laws clear to the public.

"I think it's really important that we write opinions that are clear and concise and can be picked up by anyone in the state of Wisconsin … and read through it and understand what we're doing," he said. "That judicial philosophy and that experience are what make me most qualified."

He said his almost 30 years of work in the field of law is an asset.

"In some ways, I've been preparing for this position, unknowingly, pretty much my entire career."

Karofsky, a Dane County circuit judge, also said her experience handling cases is valuable in a Supreme Court justice. She is pushing for an end to corruption in government.

"In my courtroom, I follow the rule of law every day," she said. "I treat everyone in my courtroom equally and fairly and respectfully, and that's what I'm going to do on the Wisconsin Supreme Court."

Also running is Marquette Law Professor Ed Fallone, who said his background outside the courts is his strength.

"We have a state Supreme Court that has too many justices with the same narrow experience, both life experience and legal experience," he said. "[Voters] want to have a different kind of justice and they're happy to have a choice on Tuesday."

If elected, Fallone would be the first Latino to serve on Wisconsin's Supreme Court.

"Wisconsin is increasingly a diverse state and we should have all three branches of government reflect the diversity of the population of our state," he said.

But according to the most recent fundraising reports, Justice Kelly has outraised his opponents by more than double between Jan. 1 and Feb 3. Last month, he was endorsed by President Trump.

While the office is non-partisan, both Fallone and Karofsky are vying for a seat on the conservative-leaning court. A win for either would reduce the majority to 4-3.

After Tuesday's primary, the remaining two candidates will advance to the general election. The winner will serve a 10-year term.

Neena Pacholke

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