As the Supreme Court race primary nears, incumbent Justice Patience Roggensack shows a lead in fundraising for her re-election, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday.
Roggensack obtained more than $38,000 in contributions from individuals and committees, while Marquette University Law School Professor Ed Fallone reported $5,450 in his report — $5,000 of which are from a self-funded loan.
Attorney Vince Megna, another candidate, did not submit his campaign finance report to the Government Accountability Board by Friday and the records were not available online. However, according to reports procured by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he is largely funding his own campaign with a $10,000 personal loan.
An experienced lemon law attorney, Megna differentiates himself from the other two candidates as a representative of individuals.
“For 23 years, I’ve represented the average people in the state of Wisconsin with their consumer problems,” Megna said. “Nobody on the court has a perspective in dealing with just people.”
Fallone said his campaign will be focusing on targeted messaging from different media outlets in preparation for the Feb. 19 primaries.
Roggensack Campaign Consultant Brandon Scholz did not give specifics on what the campaign will use the money for, but he said it will try to identify voters and find a message that will get them to the polls.
“Just like Bret Bielema wouldn’t reveal his first 15 plays to the other side, we’re not going to reveal our first 15 plays to our opponents,” Scholz said.
However, Scholz said the campaign will emphasize Roggensack’s experience on the Supreme Court and the appeals courts as one of her strongest assets.
Roggensack received more than $9,000 in contributions from Republican-aligned groups, which Megna criticized as a sign the race is not as nonpartisan as it is supposed to be, according to the Journal Sentinel.
Megna told the Journal Sentinel Republicans support Roggensack because they think she will promote a conservative agenda on the court.
Scholz, however, disputed that claim, pointing to support for Roggensack from liberal groups.
“This is just one opponent trying to politicize the election; it’s an attack,” Scholz said. “A judicial election is nonpartisan and bipartisan. We have accepted checks from Democrats as well.”
Fallone, whose campaign has largely focused on the divided nature of the court and the need for a fresh perspective, said judicial elections cannot be political.
Reinforcing his qualification for the position, Fallone added he is a candidate without any hidden partisan interests.
“Judicial elections should not be politicized, and that’s the message of my campaign,” Fallone said. “Re-electing someone already part of the division is not going to solve the problem. As someone who is not part of any faction, my election will help break those divisions.”
The primary between the three will be held Feb. 13, and two will then proceed to the general election April 2.