Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wisconsin Election Headed for Recount

Updated 4:45 p.m. est

Assistant attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg declared victory today with a 204-vote lead over conservative incumbent justice David Prosser in the race for Wisconsin's state supreme court, with 100 percent of the state's precincts reporting results.

The slim margin and high stakes in the election leaves little doubt that the outcome will be contested.

“We owe Justice Prosser our gratitude for his more than 30 years of public service. Wisconsin voters have spoken and I am grateful for, and humbled by, their confidence and trust. I will be independent and impartial and I will decide cases based on the facts and the law," Kloppenburg said in a statement carrying by the blog at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

"As I have traveled the State, people tell me they believe partisan politics do not belong in our Courts.  I look forward to bringing new blood to the Supreme Court and focusing my energy on the important work Wisconsin residents elect Supreme Court justices to do,” Kloppenburg said.

The result has to give Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans heartburn.

"Given the political security that Wisconsin Justices usually enjoy, Prosser should have been re-elected easily as of just a few weeks ago. However, the political backlash against Republican Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation has galvanized liberal activists, who brought in a late but very energetic game for the election," writes TPMDC's Eric Keefeld. 

 end update
Too close to call -- that is the optimal phrase this morning to describe the outcome of the Wisconsin state supreme court election that caught the attention of political junkies everywhere as it became a proxy fight between Gov. Scott Walker and opponents of his scheme strip collective bargaining rights from public employees.

With 99% of the vote counted, conservative incumbent justice David Prosser has a 585-vote lead over liberal assistant attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Both sides will surely lawyer-up ahead of what promises to be an exciting, and potentially lengthy recount.

"The potentially bad news for Prosser is that of the 34 uncounted precincts, most of them are in counties that voted for Kloppenburg, including 12 in Milwaukee and 1 in Dane," writes John McCormack in The Weekly Standard.

Turnout was a big part of the story, the Journal-Sentinel blogs:

"With 99% of the returns in, almost 1.5 million people had voted in the state Supreme Court race, which would represent a turnout of 33.5% of voting-age adults.

"That’s 68% higher than the official state prediction of 20% turnout, which was based on recent historical norms."

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