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Decision 2023: Will Judge Dorow shake up an already high-stakes Wisconsin Supreme Court race?

There are now four candidates in the 2023 primary race in February.
Christmas Parade SUV
Posted at 9:35 PM, Nov 29, 2022

Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow, who recently gained national praise for presiding over the Darrell Brooks trial, will officially join the race Wednesday for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

There are now four candidates in the 2023 primary race in February.

Christmas Parade SUV
Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow smiles after clearing up a matter as Darrell Brooks appears in a Waukesha County Circuit Court during his trial in Waukesha, Wis., Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Brooks, who is representing himself during the trial, is charged with driving into the Waukesha Christmas Parade last year, killing six people and injuring dozens more. (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

Dorow and former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly will likely battle it out for the conservative vote. While Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell and Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz will compete for Democratic voters.

The race will determine if liberals or conservatives control the state's highest court.

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Dan Kelly

UW La Crosse Assistant Professor Anthony Chergosky is closely watching the state Supreme Court race. The winner could likely be the deciding vote on political battles over abortion, election laws, and redistricting.

Judge Dorow's late entry could shake up the race.

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Judge Everett Mitchell

"As she enters this race, she will be the fourth competitor in this race, a very expensive, intense, and high-stakes race," said Chergosky. "So, the question then becomes how she will handle the political pressures of being not in a high-profile trial, but in a high-profile political campaign."

Chergosky sees perils for both the liberal and conservative candidates in what is supposed to be a nonpartisan race.

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Judge Janet Protasiewicz

"Conservatives don't quite know what they have in Judge Dorow in terms of her support for lots of conservative causes. On the other hand, liberals are going to be very worried about the implications of a four-way field for how their side might fare in this race."

Alejandro Verdin, the campaign manager for Judge Janet Protasiewicz, released the following statement Tuesday that in part said: "Judge Janet provides a clear contrast with right-wing extremists like Jennifer Dorow and Dan Kelly, who are both radically out of touch with the concerns of Wisconsinites.”

Justice Daniel Kelly also released the following statement Tuesday, “I encourage everyone to consider each candidate carefully. I’m confident voters will put their trust in my proven record of upholding the rule of law and protecting our constitution.”

Judge Everett Mitchell released the following statement:" Judge Dorow’s entrance into the race, with her extreme, conservative views, highlights exactly why the stakes are so high. It’s more clear than ever to me that justice isn’t what you say, it’s what you do. "

Candidates for the state Supreme Court start circulating their nomination papers on Dec. 1.

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