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Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidate Jill Karofsky Says She's 'Seen How The Law Impacts Real People'

Courtesy of Jill Karofsky
Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky is running for Wisconsin Supreme Court this year.

Wisconsin’s presidential primary and spring elections will be held next Tuesday, April 7. Two hopefuls are vying for a 10-year term on the state Supreme Court. Conservative incumbent Daniel Kelly faces a challenge from Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky, who is supported by Democrats. Although the position is officially non-partisan, the court currently has a 5-2 conservative majority. Democrats are hoping that with a Karofsky victory, the lead would be narrowed to 4-3. 

We've interviewed both candidates.

>>Meet The 2020 Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidates
>>Daniel Kelly Says His Campaign Is About 'Constitutional Faithfulness'

Here is a portion of our latest interview with Karofsky, who was elected to the Dane County bench in 2017:

How has the coronavirus changed your approach to campaigning? 

“We are not doing any in-person events, we are taking our campaign entirely virtual. We are doing things by text, by phone call, by social media," says Karofsky. "We are just going to continue to keep doing the work that we need to do to run through that April 7 finish line, just like we had always planned to do. We are just going to do it in a way that is different from what we had planned but we need to be nimble and we need to adapt and we need to make sure we are caring for everyone around us because we truly are all in this together.” 

Is it hard to get people to pay attention to this race when the coronavirus is getting so much attention?

“Coronavirus is certainly getting a lot of attention, that is undoubtedly true, however, people are excited about our race. They understand our message, they are excited about our message. They understand why this race is so important. This is a 10-year term on our Supreme Court and they are concerned about how my opponent has been on the court, that he is someone who has had an agenda, they are concerned about that and they want to make a change,” says Karofsky.

WUWM's Marti Mikkelson speaks with Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky, who is running for a 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

>>Karofsky Wants To End 'Corruption' If Elected To Wisconsin Supreme Court

What issues are you talking about with voters? 

“We’re continuing to talk about corruption on the state Supreme Court, we’re continuing to talk about my experience as being the only person in this race who’s in a trial court. I truly see every day and I am seeing every day how these cases impact real people’s lives. They are not an esoteric exercise. I spent yesterday morning in court trying to figure out bail hearings of people who are in custody and trying to make the right decision regarding their custody status. It impacts victims, it impacts defendants, it impacts members of our community and that is the kind of judge I have been. I have seen the front line, seen how the law impacts real people and I have a long record of following the rule of law. We are also talking about my experience as a prosecutor, making sure the rights of all individuals are protected. We are talking about my experience as a victim advocate, someone who has worked hard for people in this state whose voice needs to always be heard in a criminal case,” says Karofsky.

What do you want to know about the 2020 elections and the DNC convention? Submit your questions below.


Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
From 2020 to 2021, Jack was WUWM's digital intern and then digital producer.