April 14, 2020

Victory north of the border!

The good people of Wisconsin made some important history last week by electing pro-labor justice Jill Karofsky to the state’s Supreme Court.

Literally putting their health and safety on the line (and long lines they were), tens of thousands of Badger State voters stood for hours, braving COVID-19 exposure and even hail storms, to cast their votes in person for the state’s primary election. The Supreme Court seat was the centerpiece contest, and Judge Karofsky’s victory was an unanticipated upset when it was announced yesterday.

Karofsky defeated incumbent Daniel Kelly, a staunch supporter of former governor Scott Walker and his eight-year assault on public employee rights.

No one was more surprised than Walker’s allies in the Republican-dominated legislature, who had done everything in the power to manipulate the election and suppress voter turnout. The outcome may also auger well for November—Kelly had Trump’s full endorsement, and despite all the hurdles facing voters, still went down to convincing defeat.

The April 7 ballot featured the partisan presidential primary choices, but also binding non-partisan general election races for judicial and municipal government posts. Karofsky, a progressive circuit court judge, had the support of the state's Democratic Party, while Kelly was strongly backed by Republican and conservative anti-labor forces.

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