The Wisconsin Realtors Association is endorsing Justice Daniel Kelly for re-election to the State Supreme Court, a year after the organization was embroiled in controversy over rescinding its endorsement of then-Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn.
"Our endorsement draws on candidates’ records and available legal opinions, interviews with the candidates, and detailed questionnaires, all focused around the issues that impact our members and the real estate industry," Realtors Association President and CEO Mike Theo said. "That endorsement process yielded a clear champion for property rights and other important real estate issues in Justice Kelly."
Kelly, 55, is seeking a full term on the bench after Governor Scott Walker appointed him to fill the remainder of retiring Justice David Prosser's term in 2016.
Last year, The Association endorsed Hagedorn but rescinded that endorsement a short time later when The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a series of stories critical of Hagedorn's views on social issues.
"The real estate related issues that served as the basis for our endorsement have been overshadowed by other, non-real estate related issues – issues with which we do not want to be associated and that directly conflict with the principles of our organization and the values of our members," Theo said at the time.
Hagedorn supporters were livid, maintaining that Hagedorn's views represented mainstream Christianity's and that an attack on them amounted to an attack on the faith. In part boosted by this sentiment, Hagedorn defeated fellow Appeals Court judge Lisa Neubauer last April to win a 10 year-term on the Supreme Court.
"On behalf of Justice Kelly’s campaign, we want to thank the Realtors for their endorsement of our campaign," said Kelly campaign manager Charles Nichols said in a statement. "This endorsement is not only proof of Justice Kelly’s record of protecting the rule of law, but also a crucial sign of the strong coalition of support that he is building ahead of the primary election in just a few short days, and the general election in April."
Kelly faces two liberal challengers in the February 18th primary election. The top two finishers move on to the general election on April 7th.