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Justice Ann Walsh Bradley Wins Third Term On Wisconsin Supreme Court

Challenger Judge James Daley Trailed By Substantial Margin

Gilman Halsted/WPR

Justice Anne Walsh Bradley easily defeated Rock County Judge James Daley on Tuesday night to win her third term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Bradley defeated Daley by a margin of more than 100,000 votes. She called her re-election an endorsement of a non-partisan independent court system.

The race was officially nonpartisan, but Bradley drew support from liberals while Daley actively courted conservatives and accepted donations from the Republican Party in his failed attempt to knock off Bradley.

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Bradley is considered part of the liberal minority on the state’s high court. She had predicted conservatives would pour money into independent ads to defeat her. That didn’t happen and Bradley said that’s good news for the future of the court.

“I have a vision for the judiciary in the state of Wisconsin that says no to partisan politics and says stay out to the special interest groups in this state,” she said.

Daley, who attacked Bradley for being a liberal activist during the campaign, explained his defeat this way in his concession speech.

“Tonight, we witnessed firsthand the power of incumbency as liberal special interest groups banded together to protect their candidate,” he said.

Daley criticized Bradley for dissenting from recent Supreme Court rulings upholding the voter identification law and Gov. Scott Walker’s restrictions on public employee unions.

Bradley benefited from television ads run by an independent group, but she told the Associated Press after her win that Daley’s campaign was different because it took money directly from the GOP.

She said political parties have agendas, and voters showed they don’t want that influencing the courts.

“There are those who would trade away the public trust and confidence in our courts — the very trust and confidence that gives us our legitimacy. To them, I say not in our system of justice,” she said.

Bradley said she will continue to push for stronger rules requiring judges to recuse themselves from case that involve people who have contributed to their campaign.

Bradley’s win gives her a third 10-year term on the court. Bradley was first elected to the Supreme Court in 1995.

She is viewed as one of two liberal justices on the Supreme Court, which has a 4-2 conservative majority.