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County voters lean right


But they can’t stop Karofsky unseating Justice Kelly

Liberal judge Jill Karofsky handily defeated conservative justice Daniel Kelly in a nationally watched Wisconsin Supreme court race held April 7, but local western Marathon County municipalities without exception favored the incumbent.

Statewide, Karofsky defeated Kelly 856,236 (55 percent) to 692,815 (45 percent) after getting support in reliably liberal Milwaukee and Dane counties, but also in the state’s southwest corner, in three Lake Superior counties and Portage and Menomonie counties.

The Marathon County margin for Kelly was solid, but no blow out. He beat Karofsky 19,027 (53 percent) to 16,598 (47 percent). The Supreme Court race was held during the COVID-19 pandemic after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Gov. Tony Evers could not delay the election and the U.S. Supreme Court held federal judge William Conley could not extend absentee voting. Across the state, voters showed up in polling places wearing masks and election workers were placed behind Plexiglass barriers to guard against the coronavirus. Results of the election were counted early Monday night.

Political pundits have speculated that Karofsky’s defeat of Kelly, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, could foretell how Wisconsin, one of six battleground states, will vote in November’s presidential general election.

In other voting, county Democrats favored Joe Biden over Bernie Sanders to be their party’s presidential nominee, mirroring results statewide. In Marathon County, Democrats voted 11,929 for Biden (63 percent) and 4,669 (27 percent) for Sanders. Statewide, Sanders received 293,634 (32 percent) versus Biden who earned 581,491 votes (63 percent). Since the Wisconsin primary, Sanders has suspended his presidential campaign and endorsed Biden.

Statewide, voters approved Marsy’s Law, a constitutional amendment, by a 1,106,399 margin (75 percent) to 370,941 (25 percent). County voters approved the amendment by a similar lopsided margin 24,753 (74 percent) to 8,826 (26 percent).

County races

Local western Marathon County voters had to decide three contested races for supervisor. In District 29, Chris Dickinson defeated incumbent Jim Bove 537 (66 percent) to 278 (34 percent). District 33 voters supported incumbent Tim Buttke over challenger Ron Covelli 635 (69 percent) to 280 (30 percent). District 34 voters re-elected incumbent Jacob Langenhahn over William Litzer by a 565 (61 percent) to 345 (38 percent) margin.

Local contests

In Athens, voters selected Chris Perkins (195 votes), Jessica McCord (173 votes) and Tami Schreiner (218 votes) for three open trustee seats. Not elected was Matt Witucki (156 votes).

In Marathon City, voters elected two trustees, Keith Paul and Dave Wallenfelsz, and, in Stratford, two candidates, Katie Marten and Dale Heil, received new terms. Both municipalities will need to deal with a trustee vacancy on their village boards because of a lack of third candidates running in the spring election.