Election Update: The Supreme Court and a New Senator

On April 7th, 2015 Wisconsin voters went to the polls and voted in many local races, but those who follow Wisconsin politics watched the race for supreme court justice, the special election for the 20th Senate District and the open seat for Waukesha County Executive.

Supreme Court Justice

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley easily won re-election with 58% of the vote over Rock County Circuit Judge James Daily. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has served on the state supreme court since 1995. Prior to serving on the state’s highest court, Justice Bradley practiced law in Wausau and served as a circuit court judge in Marathon County. Before law school, she was a high school teacher in La Crosse. With a 10-year term, the Bradley will be up for reelection in 2025.

Special Election for the 20th Senate District

The 20th Senate District is no longer vacant after U.S. Representative Glenn Grothman resigned the seat to take up his new seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Duey Stroebel was elected to the state senate seat with no opposition on April 7th and was sworn in this past week.

Stroebel was the former state representative for the 60th Assembly District and a candidate for the 6th Congressional District. He will begin his work in the State Senate as early as next week.

Waukesha County Executive

Assistant Majority Leader and State Senator Paul Farrow (R-Waukesha) was elected to be Waukesha County Executive with 68% of the vote. Farrow has stated he will serve both positions, as state senator and county executive, until Governor Walker signs the new budget, which is likely to be sometime in late June.

Once Farrow resigns the Senate seat, a special election will be held to fill the 33rd Senate District seat, and candidates are already announcing their intention to run. Rep. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), who currently represents the 99th Assembly District and chairs the Assembly committee on Constitution and Ethics, has announced his intention to run for the Senate seat.

Referendum for Chief Justice Selection

Voters approved a referendum that amends the state constitution to state the chief justice must be selected through a peer election among the justices. Under the amendment, the chief justice will hold the positon for two years and would be eligible for peer re-election. Prior to the amendment, the chief justice was selected by seniority.

Voters approved the referendum with 53% of the vote.

In response to the referendum, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson sued the Wisconsin Supreme Court and other Wisconsin government officials and is seeking declaratory judgement from the court to determine when the new constitutional amendment will come into effect. Read more about Chief Justice Abrahamson’s case.