Kelly carries townships, cities prefer Karofsky
A contentious race that garnered nationwide attention for a 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court saw incumbent Justice Dan Kelly fall to challenger Jill Karofsky.
While Karofsky, who was backed by liberal groups, gained 55% of the vote statewide, Kelly, a Scott Walker appointee supported by conservatives, managed to carry Monroe County with 52% of the vote. This was the first Supreme Court contest for either candidate.
Kelly tallied 5,043 votes countywide, while 4,657 voters, or 48%, cast ballots for Karofsky. Kelly’s main support came from the townships where he took 71% of the vote, gaining 5,655 votes to Karofsky’s 2,260. The county’s villages split the vote between the two candidates, but the cities favored Karofsky.
In Sparta, Karofsky picked up 61% of the vote, while Tomah residents only slightly leaned her way, casting 52% of ballots in her favor.
The race was underscored by rulings from both the Wisconsin and U.S. high courts. The day before the election, conservative justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down an order by Gov. Tony Evers to postpone the election due to health safety concerns over the Coronavirus pandemic.
That was followed by the conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court overturning a federal judge’s ruling that extended the deadline to return absentee ballots to April 13. Instead, the High Court justices ruled ballots had to be postmarked by election day, April 7, and received no later than 4 p.m. April 13 when votes could finally be counted.
Those rulings resulted in complaints of disenfranchisement from voters who only received their absentee ballots after the deadline or whose ballots never arrived at all.
Karofsky’s victory narrows the conservative hold on the Wisconsin Supreme Court to 4-3. It also sets progressives up to take control of the court when the next seat is up for election.
In the Presidential Preference, Monroe County followed state results with former Vice President Joe Biden winning handily over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the two candidates left in the Democratic field as of the April 7 election.
Biden carried the state with 63% of the vote, while Sanders garnered 32%. Those figures weren’t too far off the choices of Monroe County voters, where Biden got 66% of the vote to Sanders’ 27%.
Since the election, Sanders has dropped out of the race and thrown his support behind Biden.
A total of 4,850 Monroe County voters cast ballots in the Democratic Primary, while 4,764 voted in the Republican Primary, where President Donald Trump was the sole candidate.