Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet entered the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday, becoming the second candidate to announce plans to seek the seat currently held by conservative Justice Michael Gableman.
Dallet joins Madison attorney Tim Burns as the two announced candidates for the April election.
Gableman has not said whether he will seek re-election and he did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Gableman is part of a five-justice conservative majority on the seven-member court. He was first elected to the court in 2008.
The election is April 3 and there will be a primary on Feb. 20 if three or more candidates enter into the race.
Dallet, 47, was elected as a judge in 2008 — the same year Gableman joined the Supreme Court — after working 11 years as an assistant district attorney in Milwaukee County and one year as the presiding Milwaukee County court commissioner. From 1999 to 2002 she also worked a special assistant U.S. attorney. She was an adjunct professor at the Marquette University Law School from 2006 to 2008.
A native of Ohio, Dallet received her law degree from Case Western University in Cleveland and is a graduate of Ohio State University. She moved to Wisconsin in the mid-1990s and currently lives in Whitefish Bay.
Dallet said in a statement that she has the “right experience to return independence and balance to what has become an increasingly partisan Supreme Court.”
Burns, 53, has no experience as a judge, a point that opponents are certain to hammer in the election. He’s also never run for office before.
Burns’ campaign manager, Amanda Brink, said that Dallet was a more conservative candidate than Burns but did not explain why.
“There will be a clear contrast between her and Tim Burns, who will be talking about his progressive values throughout the campaign,” Brink said. “Voters deserve to know who they are voting for.”
Dallet made a $100 contribution to then-Gov. Jim Doyle — a Democrat — in 2005, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s online database. That is the only donation to state candidates on record. There are no records of Dallet donations for federal candidates on the Federal Election Commission website.
While the race is officially nonpartisan, liberals and conservatives have backed candidates for the Supreme Court for years.
Democrats were widely criticized for not fielding a candidate to challenge conservative Justice Annette Ziegler this year.