High Court Candidates Raise $275K in First Five Weeks of ‘20

February 11, 2020

Three candidates who face off in next week’s spring preprimary election raised a combined $275,000 during the first five weeks of 2020. The top two finishers will go on to face each other on the April 7 ballot.

Campaign finance reports filed by the candidates on Monday continued to show some traditional Democratic donors contributed to Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky and Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone. Longtime Republican donors backed incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly.

Kelly is running for his first full 10-year term on the court. He was appointed in 2016 by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker to fill a vacancy on the high court. Conservatives hold a 5-2 majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Kelly, of North Prairie, raised $187,463 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 3 and had $462,864 in his campaign account on Feb. 3.

A preliminary review of Kelly’s latest campaign finance reports showed his largest contributions since Jan. 1 came from:

Wisconsin Realtors Association Political Action Committee (PAC), $18,000;

William Barry, of Brookfield, owner of Speed Systems, $10,000;

Kathryn Burke, of Milwaukee, co-owner of Burke Properties, $10,000;

Mary Jo Link, of Minong, whose family owns Link Snacks, $10,000;

Thea Buholzer, of Monroe, whose family owns Klondike Cheese, $10,000;

Robert Greenheck, of Weston, owner of Greenheck Fan Corp., $5,000;

Terrence Wall, of Madison, owner of T. Wall Properties, $5,000;

Dwight Davis, of Mosinee, chairman of Greenheck Fan Corp., $5,000;

Bushnell Nielsen, of Brookfield, an attorney with Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, $5,000.

Schimel for Judge, which is the campaign committee of Waukesha Circuit Judge Brad Schimel, a former GOP attorney general, $5,000.

Karofsky, of Madison, raised $65,354 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 3 and had $83,393 in her campaign account on Feb. 3.

A preliminary review of Karofsky’s latest campaign reports showed her largest contributions since Jan. 1 came from:

Peter Nelson, of La Crosse, an anesthesiologist, $5,000;

Mary Ellyn Sensenbrenner, of Madison, retired, $5,000;

Deborah Carey, of Madison, owner of New Glarus Brewing, $3,000;

Thomas Wolfe, a Madison attorney, $2,000;

Anthony Dean, of Long Grove, Ill., retired president of John Nuveen Co., $1,500.

Fallone, of Milwaukee, raised $22,047 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 3 and had $51,904 in his campaign account on Feb. 3.

A preliminary review of Fallone’s latest campaign finance reports showed his largest contributions since Jan. 1 came from:

Nick Desien, of Milwaukee, retired president of Ministry Health Care, $2,000;

Gregory Joseph, a New York City attorney, $1,000.

The occupations and employers of the candidates’ contributors are provided by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign because GOP-led changes to Wisconsin campaign finance laws in 2015 allow the candidates to provide little to no useful employer information.

In addition to the candidates, the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity , a conservative outside electioneering group, reported spending about $13,400 on printing and canvassing in December to support Kelly.