Five open judgeships, five candidates, no contests.
Unless something goes really wrong for candidate Gwen Connolly, she will be elected a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge come April 5.
Connolly, who specializes in the areas of family law and consumer fraud, was the only candidate to file nomination papers to fun for the seat being vacated by incumbent Daniel L. Konkol, who announced he will not run for re-election.
In Dane County, three non-incumbent candidates will ascend to office without opposition. Valerie L. Bailey-Rihn, a litigation lawyer and partner with Quarles & Brady, will replace James R. Troupis, who was appointed to the bench in May by Gov. Scott Walker. Troupis is not seeking election.
Also in Dane County, Everett Mitchell is the only candidate to file for the seat now held by Amy R. Smith, who is not seeking re-election. Mitchell, a former assistant district attorney, now is director of community relations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a pastor at Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church in Madison.
John Hyland also will be a Dane County judge when he takes the seat now held by C. William Foust, who is not seeking re-election. Hyland was among the four applicants (everyone who applied!) rejected by Walker for a judgeship earlier, a rejection Hyland contended was due to his signing a Walker recall petition. Hyland is a criminal defense lawyer and a Waunakee municipal judge.
In Crawford County, on the far western side of the state, Lynn Marie Rider will be elected without opposition to circuit judgeship now held by James P. Czajkowski, who also announced he is not seeking re-election. Rider is a partner in the law firm of Czajkowski, Higgins & Rider.
Those five uncontested races for empty seats put an exclamation point on an unfortunate truth -- there are just not that many people who want to be judges badly enough to fight for the jobs. There are uncontested contests in 34 of the 45 judicial contests across the state this year.
Gretchen Schuldt is executive director of the Wisconsin Justice Initiative.
Sign up for the free WJI newsletter.
Help WJI advocate for justice in Wisconsin