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MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley will face off with Rock County Circuit Court Judge James Daley for a seat on the state's highest court in April.
Nomination papers were due at 5 p.m. Tuesday, and Bradley and Daley were the two candidates who filed.
Bradley kicked off her re-election campaign at the Marathon County Courthouse in Wausau on Tuesday, appearing with family and law enforcement supporters. She is running for her third term on the court, after being elected in 1995 and re-elected in 2005.
"I think the people of Wisconsin want and deserve a justice who is fair, who is fiercely independent and who has been willing to make the tough decisions as I have and a justice who is not beholden to any special interest group," Bradley.
She is considered to be a liberal-leaning judge, frequently siding with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson. Conservatives have a four-judge majority on the court, with Justice Patrick Crooks considered a swing vote.
"I think these labels are easy to pin on people but I'm running on my record," Bradley said. "If you want to call me conservative so be it, in terms of holding government accountable. For upholding individual rights, if you want to call me liberal for doing that, so be it. But I know what my job is and I know what I've done for the last 20 years."
Bradley will run against Daley, a Rock County Judge and former district attorney, who declared his candidacy in October. In a statement Tuesday, he said he'd "look forward to a campaign highlighting differences in judicial philosophy."
University of Wisconsin Political Scientist David Canon said spring elections are low-turnout races, but it still could get a fair amount of interest.
"It could be fairly competitive," Canon said. "You have to figure that Bradley is the favored candidate. There's only been two elected incumbents defeated in the history of Wisconsin politics."
Canon said those two races were in 1855 over a dispute over the fugitive slave act and in 1967 following a dispute over the Milwaukee Braves moving to Atlanta.
Canon says that competitiveness may come down to money and whether third-party groups spend heavily as they have in the past, and how much money the candidates spend themselves.
"If we see $2-3 million being spent by both candidates, it's likely to be a fairly close election," Canon said.
Because only two candidates filed for the seat, there will be no primary in February. The election is April 7.
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