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Judge Lisa Neubauer, Supreme Court candidate, AP photo (copy)

Lisa Neubauer, the chief judge on the state appeals court, is the first candidate to officially announce plans to run for the seat being vacated next year by retiring Justice Shirley Abrahamson. The election to replace Abrahamson is in April.

Lisa Neubauer, chief judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, announced on Thursday that she will seek to replace retiring Justice Shirley Abrahamson on the state Supreme Court next year.

Neubauer, 60, is the first candidate to officially enter the race for the April 2019 election, but several others have expressed interest in the seat. Abrahamson, 84, announced in May that she will retire at the end of her term, after more than 40 years on the high court.

After being appointed to the state appeals court in 2007 by former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, Neubauer was elected to the seat in 2008 and re-elected in 2014. She has served as chief judge since 2015. Before she became a judge, Neubauer worked for nearly 20 years at the law firm Foley & Lardner. She also worked as a clerk for Judge Barbara Crabb, who was Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court in Wisconsin's western district at the time.  

"I am called to public service and seek to ensure that our next justice has the experience and independence that Wisconsinites deserve on the state’s highest court," Neubauer said in a statement. 

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In a news release, Neubauer's campaign team said she has lined up endorsements from more than 150 current and former Wisconsin judges, including 18 from the court of appeals. 

Neubauer lives in Racine with her husband, Jeff, a former state representative. They have three children and their daughter, Greta, was elected to the state Assembly in January as a Democrat representing Racine.

Others who have voiced interest in running to replace Abrahamson include state appeals court Judge Brian Hagedorn, who served previously as chief legal counsel to Gov. Scott Walker; Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ, who ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2014; and Waukesha County Circuit Judge Maria Lazar, who served previously as an assistant attorney general under two Republican attorneys general. 

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Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.