MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet removed the name of a retired appeals court judge from the list of those endorsing her campaign Thursday after the judge told The Associated Press he was “shocked” to see his name as a backer.
Retired Judge Edward Brunner said he’s been a “solid supporter” of Dallet challenger Tim Burns, a Madison attorney, from the beginning and he never told Dallet he would endorse her. Dallet, a Milwaukee County judge, and Burns are both trying to capture liberal supporters in their run for the Supreme Court against Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock, who is a conservative.
Brunner, who ran for the Supreme Court in 2003 but was defeated by Pat Roggensack, had been one of more than 200 current or retired judges and elected officials listed on Dallet’s website as a supporter.
“Judge Dallet has reviewed her notes, and we’ve looked at our campaign records,” said Dallet’s campaign manager Jessica Lovejoy. “If Judge Brunner has changed his mind since their conversation then we apologize for the confusion, and we’ve removed him from the endorsement list on our website.”
Brunner said he never told Dallet, either in writing or verbally, that he was endorsing her.
“I clearly have no recollection of giving anybody except Tim Burns the right to use my name,” Brunner said. “I have not endorsed her and I don’t intend to.”
Burns lists only a handful of higher profile supporters on his website who have endorsed his candidacy. Those include former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, former Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling.
Endorsements typically take on greater importance in judicial races where the candidates usually avoid talking in depth about issues that may come before the court.
Burns has largely broken with that model, taking more partisan stances in the race that include labeling President Donald Trump as a “demagogue,” criticizing Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10 law that stripped public employees of collective bargaining rights and saying that conservative judges have chipped away at laws protecting democracy and the middle class.
The slate of candidates will be narrowed to two in the Feb. 20 primary and the general election is April 3.