Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday appointed an assistant state attorney general and a Madison assistant city attorney to fill judicial vacancies in Dane County, but political posturing for next spring's judicial election has already begun.
Assistant Attorney General Frank Remington was appointed as circuit judge in Branch 8, taking over for Patrick Fiedler, who retired from the post in October.
Assistant City Attorney Roger Allen will take the circuit judge post in Branch 11, the post long held by Daniel Moeser, who retired from the bench in June.
Neither said they knew when they would start their new jobs.
Both are required by state law to face an election in April to retain their seats on the bench.
Allen, 51, on Monday announced his intention to run, and on Wednesday state Assistant Attorney General Francis Sullivan said he intends to run against Allen.
"The people of Dane County deserve a chance to choose who will best represent their values on the circuit court," Sullivan said in a press release.
Assistant public defender Ellen Berz has also registered as a candidate against Allen.
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But Allen said it shouldn't matter who appointed him to the post because he has broader legal experience.
"It's not about who appointed who or what party they participated in in the past," Allen said.
Allen's campaign co-chairmen are former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and former Deputy District Attorney Tim Verhoff, who are both Democrats.
So far, nobody has registered as a candidate to oppose Remington, 53, but he said he is proud of his supporters, among whom are many local Democrats, including Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, and some Republicans.
"The people that have endorsed me represent a broad, diverse group of individuals," Remington said, "and the belief that I'll be fair, impartial and independent."
Remington, 53, grew up in Madison, the son of a well-known UW-Madison law professor. He has been with the state Department of Justice since 1987 and in his career has been part of major state lawsuits against the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries. He became municipal judge for the village of Shorewood Hills in 2007.
Allen, 51, graduated from Dodgeland High School in Juneau and has been an assistant city attorney since 1996.
After graduating from UW-Platteville, Allen served in the Army, was a police officer in Dallas for a year and worked as a special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Allen was also a law clerk for the U.S. Attorney's Office and a lawyer for a private law firm in Madison.
Both of the new judges have law degrees from UW-Madison.