One of the Midwest’s highest appellate courts lost a conservative judiciary voice to the Democratic Party.
Daniel Kelly has lost his bid for another term as Wisconsin Supreme Court justice at the Badger State’s latest nonpartisan election.
Early counts revealed Democratic Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky led the race with 54 percent of the votes compared to Kelly’s 46 percent on April 13.
The outgoing justice thanked everyone who supported him throughout his four-year term, and reassured them that he would turn to the divine to find his next calling.
“Obviously, I had hoped my service would continue for another decade but tonight’s results make clear that God has a different plan for my future,” he said in a statement obtained by Wisconsin Public Radio. “I congratulate Judge Karofsky and wish her well as she assumes the responsibilities of this important office.”
Previous Republican Gov. Scott Walker first appointed Kelly to the Supreme Court back in the year 2016, after the justice spent many years as as lawyer in private practice. One of his most successful cases was defending a Republican redistricting plan that the governor signed into law almost 10 years ago according to Wisconsin Public Radio.
“Wisconsin families want proven leaders who will protect our communities by upholding the rule of law,” Kelly said on Twitter. “A bipartisan majority of Wisconsin’s county sheriffs trust[ed] me to be that leader on your Supreme Court.”
He was the first incumbent justice to fail to be re-elected since Democratic Justice Louis Butler lost to Republican rival Michael Gableman back in 2008.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) described Kelly’s election loss as a potential threat to legislation that protects the right to vote even during the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus pandemic.
“For the last few weeks, Democrats have gone to court trying to overturn well-established law designed to protect the integrity of your vote,” he said on Twitter. “That is why we need a conservative Justice like Dan Kelly, not a judicial activist.”
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) will remember Kelly for his fair judgments that upheld the law and personal freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
“In the 3.5 years since his appointment by [Wisconsin Gov.] Scott Walker, Justice Dan Kelly has been a critical and fair jurist who has fought to defend our individual rights, our constitution, and to preserve the rule of law,” he said on Twitter.
The outcome means Karofsky is likely to spend the next 10 years serving the state Supreme Court.
“I want to send a heartfelt thank you to the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who made their voice heard in this unprecedented election,” she said in a statement obtained by the broadcaster. “I am honored to have earned the trust of people across this state who believe in a tough, fair, and independent judiciary and I promise to never forget these principles as their Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.”