Soglin's appearance kicks-off ad campaign in judge race - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Soglin's appearance kicks-off ad campaign in judge race

MADISON (WKOW) -- A Dane County judge appointed to the bench by Governor Walker is supported in an new television ad by Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, while the political arm of the Madison teachers union has made the largest contribution to her opponent.

Judge Rebecca St. John was appointed by Walker in August, after previously serving as an assistant attorney general.

"I trust Rebecca St. John because she shares Dane County's values," Soglin intones in the TV ad for St. John.

Campaign finance records show the group MTI Voters contributed $3,000 to the campaign of St. John's opponent, Madison attorney Rhonda Lanford, on Jan. 18.

Hundreds of members of Madison Teachers Incorporated participated in rallies and sit-ins at the state capitol in the winter and spring of 2011 in protest of Walker's limitations to public employee union collective bargaining.

Lanford's campaign treasurer, Jean Steinhauer told 27 News the campaign spent nearly $1,000 to purchase voter registration lists from the state democratic party.

Records show St. John boasts a considerable advantage in fundraising over Lanford, although the margin is boosted by loans to the campaign from St. John herself. St. John has collected more than $76,000, to Lanford's total of nearly $19,000.  St. John's loans to her campaign total more than $44,000.

Walker's only other appointee to the Dane County bench to run in a contested election, former judge Roger Allen, was defeated by Ellen Berz last year. During the campaign, Berz highlighted Allen's appointment by the republican governor.

Soglin also endorsed Allen, an assistant city attorney who returned to his job after taking leave when serving as judge.

In addition to Soglin, St. John's endorsements include most of her fellow Dane County circuit court judges. Lanford's endorsements include democratic U.S. Representative Mark Pocan and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.   

St. John's husband is deputy attorney general Kevin St. John, who argued before the state supreme court in support of Walker's collective bargaining changes, after a Dane County judge had struck down the law. The state supreme court upheld the law.

Voting in the race for the non-partisan judicial position takes place in April.

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