More than a few eyebrows were raised when it was pointed out, in Isthmus and elsewhere, that Gov. Jim Doyle's three picks for open Dane County judgeships last summer just happened to be the three applicants (of 28) who gave the most money to Doyle's campaigns.
But then, in early October, Doyle blocked the firing of eyebrow-raising neurons by tapping Madison lawyer Stephen Ehlke to fill a fourth seat. Ehlke has not given any money to Doyle.
Now Doyle is set to select an appellate court judge. An initial list of 11 applicants has been narrowed to three finalists: state Rep. Gary Sherman, assistant public defender Eileen Hirsch and Public Service Commission attorney Jennifer Nashold.
Among those passed up were two longtime circuit court judges and Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard, none of whom gave money to Doyle, according to Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's searchable database.
Nashold, it so happens, is Doyle's largest contributor among the 11 applicants, showering him with $1,350 worth of approval since 2004. But neither Hirsch nor Sherman, a Democratic lawmaker, has given money to Doyle; in fact, both are past donors to Republican Tommy Thompson!