Karofsky defeats Townsend for Dane County judge

Jill Karofsky will be a Dane County judge after defeating Marilyn Townsend in Tuesday’s spring election.

At about 8:50 p.m., polls were reporting Karofsky had received 58 percent of the votes so far, and Townsend about 42 percent. At that time 80 percent of polls were reporting, or 175 out of 220 precincts.

During the campaign, the candidates talked about numerous issues including incarceration rates and racial disparities.

“If you are a judge and your only option is to incarcerate someone or to fine someone, those aren’t very good options,” Karofsky said. “If your options include being able to help someone through a drug treatment court, an OWI or a mental health court, that will go a long way in helping us address these problems.”

Karofsky said she is uniquely qualified for the position because Townsend has never appeared in a criminal court. She said “the legal system is not interchangeable.”

Both candidates identified themselves as progressives and supported similar standpoints on increasing mental health services and keeping 17-year-olds out of adult court.

Karofsky will see criminal cases for at least two years of her term.