The Third Branch
Five contested circuit court races on April 1 ballot
Three incumbent circuit court judges are among candidates vying for circuit court seats in five Wisconsin counties on the April 1 spring ballot. Another 36 circuit court candidates are running uncontested, as are three Court of Appeals judges, including Patricia S. Curley, District I; Lisa S. Neubauer, District II; and Gary E. Sherman, District IV.
In Waupaca County, a Feb. 18 primary election narrowed the field of candidates from four to two in the race for the circuit court Branch 2 seat held by Judge Keith A. Steckbauer. Steckbauer, who received 841 votes in the primary, will face Assistant District Attorney Vicki Taggatz, who received 700 votes. Steckbauer was appointed by Gov. Scott Walker in January to fill the seat left open by the retirement of Judge John P. Hoffmann. Hoffmann retired on Nov. 29, 2013, after 28 years on the bench. (See Retirements, page 3).
Candidates eliminated in the primary include Assistant District Attorney Brenda Starr Freeman and Atty. Edmund J. Jelinski.
In Dunn County, two of three candidates advanced to the spring election for the Branch 1 circuit court seat left open by the retirement of Judge William C. Stewart on Nov. 29, 2013.
Christina M. Mayer, an attorney in private practice, and District Attorney James M. Peterson, both of Menomonie will compete on the spring ballot. Atty. Roger M. Hillestad was eliminated in the primary race.
In the race for Florence-Forest County Circuit Court, incumbent Judge Leon D. Stenz, Crandon, is facing a challenge from former judge Robert A. Kennedy, Jr., also of Crandon.
In Jefferson County, Atty. Joann Miller, of Mediation and Collaborative Law Center, is challenging incumbent Judge David J. Wambach, who was appointed by Walker in June to fill the Branch 3 seat.
Two candidates are vying for the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Branch 32 seat held by Judge Michael D. Guolee, who is not seeking re-election. Candidates for that seat include Milwaukee County court commissioners Cedric Cornwall and Laura Gramling Perez, both of Wauwatosa.