Incumbent David Prosser and Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg have advanced to the April election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Prosser, a justice for 12 years, received 55-percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary. Kloppenburg had 25-percent. Marla Stephens, head of the public defender’s appellate division, was eliminated with 11-percent of the vote. Madison attorney Joel Winnig placed fourth with nine-percent. Just over 400-thousand total votes were cast in a primary that was expected to get a 10-percent statewide turnout.
Prosser said he has strong support in every part of the state, and he wants to build on it. Prosser – part of the court’s 4-3 conservative majority – also said Kloppenburg and Stephens wanted a “much more left-leaning court than the one we have now.” Kloppenburg said her showing in the primary indicates that voters are fed up with the public divisiveness on the Supreme Court, and they’ve lost some confidence in the institution. She said it’s clear that people want public financing. All the primary candidates but Stephens received $100,000 in tax money for their campaigns, under a new law designed to keep special interests out of judicial races. Stephens only raised about 40-thousand-dollars on her own. Prosser and Kloppenburg will each get $300,000 in public financing for the general election. But outside groups can still advertise on their own. The conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth had the only statewide televisionad in the primary, supporting Prosser.