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Supreme Court race showing its political stripes

Two years ago, Milwaukee County Judge Joe Donald was struggling to stand out in a three-way primary in the race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Running against a conservative and a liberal, Donald crafted a campaign as the race’s independent candidate. But he only ended up with 12 percent of the vote.

Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll, said the tone of this year’s race is different than those in the past but a shift in the making.

“Tim Burns has been very up front about talking about issues that matter in language of politics rather than avoiding any discussion of issues and cases which has been the sort of norm for judicial elections,” he said. 

Madison attorney Burns jumped in the race last spring and is campaigning on his liberal political views. Fellow liberal-leaning candidate Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet began the race objecting to Burns’ political speech but has since shared some of her own views on policies and Supreme Court decisions.