Jill Karofsky wins 10-year seat on Wisconsin Supreme Court

4 13 20 Campaign 2020 Spring Projected Winner Supreme Court Jill Karofsky

MADISON, Wis. — Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky has defeated incumbent Justice Dan Kelly to win a 10-year seat on the state Supreme Court.

The race was officially nonpartisan but Democrats backed Karofsky and Republicans supported Kelly. Karofsky was on the offensive for most of the campaign. She accused Kelly of being corrupt because he consistently sides with conservative groups before the court.

Karofsky’s victory narrows the conservative majority on the court to 4-3 and gives liberals a chance to take control of the court the next time a seat comes up in 2023.


“I want to send a heartfelt thank you to the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who made their voice heard in this unprecedented election,” Karofsky said in a statement. “I’m 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.”

Karofsky also commented on the circumstances of last week’s election.

“Nobody in this state or in this country should have been forced to choose between their safety and participating in an election,” said Karofsky. “Too many were unable to have their voices heard because they didn’t feel safe leaving their home or their absentee ballots weren’t counted. Wisconsinites showed their resiliency by overcoming many of the barriers created by the legislature and the courts to try and silence voters in this state, but nobody should ever be denied their right to vote.”


Kelly congratulated Karofsky with a statement of his own.

“It has been the highest honor of my career to serve the people of Wisconsin on their Supreme Court these past four years,” said Kelly. “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. I congratulate Judge Karofsky and wish her well as she assumes the responsibilities of this important office.”