Shifting voter trends showcased in Wisconsin Supreme Court election results

Published: Apr. 14, 2020 at 5:22 PM CDT
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Judge Jill Karofsky wins a 10-year seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court after defeating incumbent Daniel Kelly.

More than 1.5 million voters cast ballots in this primary election making it the second highest turnout for a Supreme Court race in Wisconsin history.

Wisconsin Democrats celebrate the election results for Supreme Court race.

"I'm very glad that she won. I think that's great for democracy to be quite honest," said Michael Moran, Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County.

Marquette Poll Director Charles Franklin calls it a "widespread victory" for Karofsky with a surge in support seen in almost every county.

"We're disappointed certainly in the outcome of the elections yesterday, but we also knew that Justice Kelly's race was going to be difficult given the Democratic Primary election being on the same day," said James Fitzgerald, Chair of the Republican Party of Brown County.

Franklin agrees that the Democratic Primary likely boosted Karofsky's support. In what he refers to as a "very notable result,"she won Brown, Outgamie, and Winnebago Counties.

"They're polarized within the counties with urban areas trending and becoming quite blue, the rest of the counties remaining quite red," said Franklin.

It is a long-term trend Franklin says he has been following since 2012. He says Wisconsin has experience a Democratic drift in the south and east matched by an increasingly Republican shift in the north and west.

While he says it is risky to use the results to project possible outcomes this November, he believes the changing voter trends will have implications this fall.

"The Supreme Court vote in and of itself isn't so important, but these regional shifts I believe are important," said Franklin.

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