GOP succeeds in getting Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn Evers’ ‘Safe at Home’ law

In yet another sign of the insanity that is gripping the state’s conservatives and the GOP in general, the Wisconsin Supreme Court yesterday struck down the state’s “Safe-at home” law, thus creating increased confusion over how residents of the state should deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

By a 6-3 vote, the court sided with the leaders of the Republican-controlled state legislature who challenged an attempt by the state’s executive branch, led by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. Joining the GOP in challenging the order,which came from the state’s chief public health officer, were numerous business groups and organizations.

For more on this, check out this article from the Journal Sentinel.

If you are legally inclined, check out the the court’s complete Safe at Home decision. Thanks to Ken Knight for providing this from Ed Fallone, the Marquette University law professor who was an unsuccessful candidate for a seat on the state’s top court earlier this year.















Judge Lisa Neubauer retains seat on appeals court; turns back Republican challenger, Judge Paul Bugenhagen

Judge Lisa Neubauer (center)

In another one of the pretend nonpartisan judicial elections, Lisa Neubauer, the chief judge of the District II Appeals Court, which is headquartered in Waukesha, defeated Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Paul Bughagen

Judge Neubauer attracted  228,670 votes (54%) to Bugenhgen’s 194,959 (46%)

In Green Lake, Neubauser, who was upset in an extremely close race last year by Brian Hagedorn when the two sought a seat on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court, surprisingly topped Bugenhagen, 2,453 (54%) to 2068 (46%). By most accounts, Green Lake is a strong Republican county.

Green Lake County is one of the counties included in District II.

As with other so-called nonpartisan judicial elections in Wisconsin, this one also had strong political affiliations with Bughagen receiving support from Republicans and conservatives, while Neubauer was the favorite of progressives and Democrats.

Read article on the election from the Journal Sentinel.

Jill Karofsky upsets incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly for seat on the state’s top court

Newly elected Wisconsin Supreme Court Judge Jill Karofsky spoke at the Jan. 4 meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends.


Judge Jill Karofsky’s win in a fight for a seat on the state’s top court was a bit of a pleasant surprise

The Dane County Circuit Court Judge not only defeated incumbent Wisconsin State Supreme Court Judge Daniel Kelly for his seat on the state’s top court, she won by almost 10 percent, a strong showing in a race that had most pre-election day observers uncertain of its outcome.

Karofsky received 812,520 votes to Kelly’s 679,820. Together, they pulled in just over 1.5 million votes. Karofsky’s total reflects 54.5 percent of the vote; Kelly had 45.6 percent.

In 2019, the last time a spot on the top court was open, Brian Hagedorn, heavily backed by conservatives and Republicans, upset Lia Neubauer in a close race. Neubauer, who had the support of most Democrats and Progressives, had been favored. Hagedorn outpolled Neubauer by just over 6,000 votes, 606,414 to 600,433.

Officially, the contest on Tuesday was nonpartisan, but as with the Neubauer-Hagedorn battle, it was clearly a fight between the state’s two major political parties. 

President Donad Trump had publicly endorsed both Hagedorn and Kelly. Kelly had been appointed to the court in 2016 by former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Complicating the Karofsky/Kelly race was a number of unexpected issues. First, the CORVID-19 pandemic kept most people from voting in person on Tuesday. And in some locations, such as Milwaukee, only five polling places were open on Tuesday which resulted in long lines of people waiting for hours to vote.

Because of the pandemic, many voters voted via absentee ballots and there were reports of people requesting but not receiving their ballots in time to vote. Finally, according to other reports, some bags of absentee ballots were found sitting in some post offices after the polls closed on Tuesday, too late to be counted. 

A key to the Karofsky win appears to be the strong voter turnout. Last year, Neubauer and Hagedorn together earned 1,207,564 votes.  This year, Karofsky and Kelly collected a total of just under 1.5 million votes, for an gain of 300,000. Neubauer, in 2019, gained 606,433 votes. Karofsky, who ran a more aggressive campaign, topped her this April by about 212,000 votes. Kelly also did slightly better than Hagedorn,  his conservative benchmate, pulling in about 73,000 more votes than Hagedorn.

View article on the Karofsky/Kelley race from the Wisconsin Examiner.



Ask Joan listening sessions moved to Facebook and the web; here are several ways you can participate

Here is a great opportunity to ask our current representative in the Wisconsin State Assembly, Joan Ballweg, about her support for  issues that concern us.

Rep, Ballweg, a Reuplican, has represented the 41st District, which covers portions of Adams, Green Lake, Marquette, Fond du Lac, and Sauk Counties counties, since 2004.

On Tuesday, March 31, she is hosting Facebook Live e-listening sessions, The first session starts at 10 a.m., and is slated to run until 11 a.m. The second, also on Tuesday, is scheduled to run from 5:30 to 6:20 p.m.

To participate via Facebook Live, visit, or click here.

If you can’t participate in either of the lessons, you can still submit questions to her via a form on her website: or by clicking on the “E-Listening Session Questions submission Form.”

Still a third way to submit a question is by clicking here.


From A to Z, Allen and Zimdars headline March 7 Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting at Caestecker Public Library

This is another in the continuing series of informative, stimulating, and exciting meetings being hosted monthly by the Green Lake County Dems & Friends.

This Saturday, March 7, we’ll hear from Mary Allen, the district administrator of Schools in Green Lake, and Nate Zimdars, an announced candidate for the state Senate seat being vacated by long-time Republican Luther Olsen.

Allen will explain why the Green Lake School District is asking voters to approve a $4.3 million (over four years)  referendum on April 7. Zimdars will discuss his desire to represent us in Madison.

Green Lake School District Administrator Mary Allen

While Allen’s presentation will zero in on the district’s needs, her presentation’s backdrop is the fact that unlike most of the state’s school districts, the Green Lake District does not receive school aid funding from the state. 

Additionally, since the GOP-led legislature, under the leadership of former Republican Governor Scott Walker capped the amount a district could raise annually, districts across the state have not been able to pay for needed physical plant improvements without going to referenda. 

Nate Zimdars spoke at an earlier Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting.

The question voters in the district are being asked is: “Shall the School District of Green Lake, Green Lake County, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $810,000 for the 2020-2021 school year, by $975,000 for the 2021-2022 school year, by $1,200,000 for the 2022-2023 school year and by $1,400,000 for the 2023-2024 school year, for non-recurring purposes consisting of operational costs to maintain instruction programs, staffing, and technology and capital project costs associated with facilities maintenance?”

Come to our meeting tomorrow to learn why Allen and the Green Lake School District want an affirmative answer to the question.

Zimdars, from Ripon, will explain why he is seeking election in a district that has been gerrymandered by Republicans to favor their party. 


GOP’s Olsen not running for reelection; Ballweg giving up her assembly seat as she hopes Republicans can hang onto the 14th Senate District

Republican State Senator Luther Olsen

State Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) has decided not to seek reelection this fall to the 14th Senate District. Assemblywoman Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) in a coordinated move, will be here party’s choice to replace Olsen. Ballweg, like Olsen, a long-time fixture within the GOP, currently represents the 41st Assembly District. Had he stayed in the race, Olsen would have faced either Nate Zimdars or Joni Anderson in the fall. Zimdars and Olsen will compete in a primary election in August.


As expected, Wisconsin’s Dems and Republicans differ on criminal justice reform

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers

This, unfortunately, was expected. A week after Democrats introduced legislation designed as a “first step” toward criminal justice reform in the state, Republican lawmakers unveiled legislation to counter what the Dems proposed, and as expected, the two sets of legislation define criminal justice reform quite differently.

In his successful campaign for Governor, in 2018, Tony Evers, a Democrat, said if elected one of his goals would be to halve the state’s growing prison population. He acknowledged last when talking about the “first step” legislation that its chances for being enacted depending on bipartisan support and that without it, the reforms introduced by his party would have little chance for passage.

Evers, did, however, say that he hoped his reform package would help create bipartisan debates on the issues surrounding criminal justice reform. Well, according to the Wisconsin State Journal article dated Jan. Jan. 15, it worked, although perhaps not the way Evers and his Democratic colleagues hoped.

In a nutshell the Evers plan would decrease the number of adults in Wisconsin prisons, while the Republican plan would not. It, in fact, it would, if passed, see more adults spending time in prison.

Read this article from the Wisconsin State Journal written after Evers introduced his plan earlier this month. Then read another Wisconsin State Journal article on the Republican plan introduced a week later.

Green Lake Reporter did not ignore Karofsky or Anderson presentations in Green Lake

The appearance in Green Lake of two candidates for public office. Jill Karofsky and Joni Anderson, did not go unnoticed by the Green Lake Reporter. The Reporter ran an article, with a photo of Karofsky, on its front page. The article on Anderson’s presentation was at the top of page six.

Both candidates spoke at the Jan. 4 meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends. Karofsky seeks a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Anderson is running for the 14th State Senate seat now held by Luther Olsen (R-Ripon). Karofsky faces two challengers in a Feb. 18th nonpartisan primary: Marquette Law School Professor Ed Fallone and incumbent Supreme Court Judge Daniel Kelly. Kelly was appointed to the state’s highest court by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. The two top choices in the primary will meet again in the April 7 general election. If you are not subscribed to the Green Lake Reporter or any of the other Berlin Journal Publications, you can find copies in your local library or news outlets, or take out a subscription for only $47 a year. 


Missed the Jan. 9 Dems & Friends meeting? Check out Commonwealth Press coverage of our speakers

If you were not able to attend the Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting on Jan. 4, you missed an extremely informative meeting featuring three candidates running for public office this year. 

But, fear not, the Ripon Commonwealth Press reported on the meeting in some detail. So, if you want to read about what candidates Judge Jill Karofsky and Joni Anderson had to say, check out the Jan. 9 issue of the paper. 

Karofsky, of course, is running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat now held by Daniel Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Anderson is seeking to unseat incumbent Republican State Senator Luther Olsen.

The award-winning Commonwealth Press had separate articles on Karofsky and Anderson on page 7. 

If you don’t subscribe to the newspaper, you can probably find a copy at your local newspaper outlet, or at your local library. Better yet, subscribe. It has been and continues to be a great source for information on local candidates, elections, and issues. An annual  subscription is only $40. Given the cost of other local newspapers, it is a bargain. 

Four candidates for public office spoke at Jan. 4, Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting

Judge Jill Karofsky, who is seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Justice Daniel Kelly, was one of several candidates speaking at the Jan. 4 meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends.


Joni Anderson

Four candidates for election spoke to the Green Lake County Dems & Friends on Saturday morning, Jan. 4. Heading up the list was Judge Jill Karofsky, a candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Judge Karofsky is in a three-person nonpartisan primary fight on Feb. 18 to select the two candidates who will face off in the April 7 general election. 

For more on Judge Karofsky, check out her Facebook page and website

Another one of the candidates for the seat on the state Supreme Court now held by Dan Kelly, who was appointed–not elected–to the court by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, is Ed Fallone a Marquette University Law School professor. Fallone will join us on Saturday, Feb. 1, for our regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Check back in the coming weeks for more on Fallone and his upcoming visit to Green Lake

Also speaking on Saturday morning was Joni Anderson, a Democrat, seeking to replace incumbent Republican State Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon). Anderson, from Adams County has been a longtime union official and she is promoting her union leadership as one of the reasons people should vote for her. Anderson and Nate Zimdars, a Democrat from Ripon, and a current member of the Ripon School Board, will meet in a primary on Aug. 11. The winner of that election will face off against Olsen on in the Nov. 3, 2020, general elections.

Ken Bates

The third candidate speaking Saturday morning was former Green Lake School District Administrator Ken Bates, who is seeking a seat on the Green Lake County Board of Supervisors.  Bates was not at the meeting to promote his candidacy, but instead to urge attendees to consider running for several open positions on the board.

The fourth candidate was Zimdars, who was also there to alert attendees to several openings on the Ripon School Board.  

As always, meetings of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends, held on the first Saturday of the month, are open to the public. Approximately 45 people attended the meeting Saturday.

OPINION: Why do we persist on calling this election a nonpartisan contest when it is clearly partisan?

One of the many absurdities involving our electoral process is the idea that there are nonpartisan elections. 

Case in point, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, who was appointed to the court by former Republican Governor Scott Walker as a reward for his work helping the Republican Party’s defense of its obscene redistricting after the 2010 census, is now renting space for his campaign from the Republic Party.

As reported in a recent article on, Kelly is also receiving help in his campaign from the GOP. Clearly, Kelly and the state Republican Party are not even pretending to be nonpartisan.

Kelly is facing two opponents, Marquette Law School Professor Ed Fallone and Dane County Circuit Court Judge Jill Karofsky in a primary election on Feb. 18.

Both Fallone and Karofsky are not being openly endorsed or supported by the state’s Democratic Party. The two, however, have been actively courting support from Democrats. [perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Both are scheduled to speak to the Green Lake County Dems & Friends; Karofsky at the organization’s Saturday, Jan. 4, meeting, and Fallone at the Feb. 1, Saturday, meeting.[/perfectpullquote]


Last year, Appeals Court Judge Lisa Neubauer narrowly lost a “nonpartisan” election to Brian Hagedorn, who also openly had support from the state’s Republican party. Hagedorn too had worked for Walker. 

Neubauer, who is now seeking reelection to her District 2 appeals court post, angered a lot of Democrats last year when she turned down their active support because she felt it would have violated the nonpartisan aspect of the election. 

Neubauer played by the rules and it probably cost her the election last year. So far, Karofksy and Fallone are doing the same thing, although their opponent, Kelly is not. 

If a sitting Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice is flaunting the rules that pertain to nonpartisan elections, doesn’t that suggest that we do away with the facade that these elections are nonpartisan; let’s make them fair and treat them as they really are: partisan, just like most elections. Let’s make the playing field equal. 


Nate Zimdars makes it official; he is running for the 14th District State Senate seat now held by Luther Olsen

Nate Zimdars, now a candidate for the 14th State Senate, spoke at a recent Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting.


Nate Zimdars makes it official; he is challenging incumbent Luther Olsen for the 14th State Senate seat


Ripon’s Nate Zimdars is running for the 14th District State Senate seat now held by long-time Se. Luther Olsen. Zimdars, currently a member of the Ripon School Board, made the announcement this morning with the release of a campaign video (below). Zimdars is the second announced Democrat running against Olsen. Previously, Joni Anderson of Adams announced she wants to replace Olsen. Anderson is scheduled to speak to the Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting on Jan. 4. Zimdars has been a regular attendee at the organization’s meetings. 

To view the video, click on the arrow bottom left.

Our guy, Sen. Johnson says impeachment inquiry is ‘coordinated effort to sabotage the Trump Administration’

In the letter, Sen. Johnson wrote that he viewed the inquiry as a “continuation of a concerted, and possibly coordinated, effort to sabotage the Trump administration,” and he questioned the motives of government witnesses who have voiced concerns about Trump’s handling of Ukraine.

Johnson released his accounting of what happened a day after he disclosed on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that two House Republicans, Ohio’s Jim Jordan and California’s Devin Nunes, had asked him for it

Johnson asserted that government officials expressing concerns about Trump’s conduct are doing so because they “have never accepted President Trump as legitimate and resent his unorthodox style and his intrusion onto their ‘turf.’” Johnson accused these officials of trying to sabotage Trump and called out one of them, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, by name.  

“It’s entirely possible that Vindman fits this profile,” Johnson wrote of Vindman.

The senator’s involvement in Ukraine traces to his role as chair of the Europe subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations panel and membership in the Senate’s bipartisan Ukraine Caucus. 

Beyond that, Johnson has maintained an unusually high profile in the public debate over the Ukraine controversy that is fueling the impeachment effort, defending Trump in repeated media appearances and interviews and offering his own knowledge of key events. 

Johnson’s letter is at the end of the Journal Sentinel article.

Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson has become one of Trump’s most vocal defenders

In a New York Times piece published Nov. 19, the newspaper details how Johnson, who is chair of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, has become immersed in the controversies surrounding the House’s impeachment inquiry, and how Johnson may himself be called as a witness because of his involvement in some of the activities and meetings that are being investigated. 

Read the Times article.

Read article from US Today



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