By Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Outside groups and the three candidates combined to spend a record $10 million in the state Supreme Court election this spring, according to a report released by a government watchdog Thursday.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s report shows the three candidates - liberals Jill Karofsky and Ed Fallone. along with conservative incumbent Daniel Kelly - together spent just over $5 million, a record for candidate spending. The previous record for combined candidate spending was $3.7 million in 2019.

Outside group spending topped $5 million for the first time in a state Supreme Court race, the report said, surpassing the previous record of nearly $4.8 million in 2008. The previous record for combined candidate and group spending was about $8.2 million in 2019.

Karofsky defeated Kelly in the April 6 general election. She spent $2.7 million, a record for a single state Supreme Court candidate. Outside groups supporting her spent nearly $2.5 million.

Groups backing Fallone spent about $10,300.

The biggest outside spender was A Better Together Political Fund, which poured out nearly $1.9 million to support Karofsky.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s largest business organization, was the next biggest spender, dropping about $1.1 million on ads attacking Karofsky. The third-biggest spender was the Republican State Leadership Committee. It spent about $900,000 on ads and texts supporting Kelly and attacking Karofsky.

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