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Entries in David Prosser (2)

Thursday
Apr072011

Conservative David Prosser Retakes Lead in Wisconsin Supreme Court Race

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MADISON, Wis.) -- Wisconsin's topsy-turvy Supreme Court race -- widely seen as a referendum on Republican Governor Scott Walker -- took another dramatic turn as incumbent justice David Prosser, a conservative, moved convincingly back into the lead.

On Wednesday, liberal challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, an assistant attorney general, had appeared to eke out an upset -- besting Prosser by 204 votes in an unofficial tally. But officials in heavily Republican Waukesha County now say they discovered a counting error that, when rectified, gives Prosser an additional 7,582 votes.

Waukesha County clerk Kathy Nickolaus blamed the error on her failure to save results from the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield on her database. She told reporters, "This is human error which I apologize for."

If the new results hold -- and a Democratic official in the county said they appear to be accurate -- Kloppenburg faces an uphill fight in a recount because the new margin is too large for the state to pick up the costs.

The race has been closely watched because Walker supporters and detractors viewed it as a proxy battle for his controversial move to strip state employees of union rights.

It produced a record turnout: nearly 1.5 million votes were cast for what is typically a low-key judicial election. The outcome is significant because Wisconsin's Supreme Court may soon decide the legality of the state's anti-union law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr062011

What Can the State Supreme Court Race in Wis. Tell Us About 2012?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MADISON, Wis.) -- Assistant state attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg -- backed by liberals -- holds a paper-thin lead of fewer than 300 votes over state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, a conservative, in the non-partisan race.  The margin is so narrow that a recount is inevitable.  Judicial elections are normally dull affairs, but Wisconsin voters turned out Tuesday in record numbers -- fueled by the state’s raging argument over Gov. Walker and his move to strip state employees of their bargaining. If Prosser loses he would be only the second incumbent justice in over 40 years to lose a race for the high court seat.

So what does this all mean for 2012? The Badger State will be at the center of the political universe next fall.

To be sure, it’s always dangerous to read too much into one election. But, this wasn’t a typical down ballot election either. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University Law School estimates interest groups on both sides spent more than $3.5 million on TV ads in this race.

Even so, despite the strong showing of Republicans in the state in 2010, and Democrats’ success here in 2006 and 2008, this nail-biter of an election shows that Wisconsin isn’t red or blue -- but deep purple. Moreover, it indicates that this normally sleepy Midwestern state is going to be one of the most hotly contested battleground states in 2012.

University of Wisconsin professor Ken Goldstein says that the results of this race show that Wisconsin is “not a blow out state -- we are an evenly divided state. Remember, the 2000 and 2004 presidential where Gore (.4 percent) and Kerry (.2) percent won by razor-thin margins in Wisconsin.”

In fact, notes Goldstein, Kloppenburg carried heavily Democratic Dane County (Madison), by a 73 to 27 percent margin, while Prosser won heavily Republican Waukesha County “by the EXACT same margin.”

One other reason why this election is significant: the new court may ultimately rule on the legality of the controversial law backed by Walker that repeals most collective bargaining by public employees.  The Appeals Court has punted on taking up the case and it’s not clear yet whether the current court (5-4 conservative) or the next one will take up the question of whether Republican legislators violated -- as two Dane County officials have alleged in separate lawsuits -- Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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