Walker’s Second Victory

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In what is viewed as a victory for Governor Scott Walker and his attempt to limit the power of government unions, it appears incumbent David Prosser has defeated challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg in the race for a seat on Wisconsin’s state supreme court. Angry state Democrats fought vigorously to turn the supreme court race into a referendum on Walker’s legislative maneuvers, but their efforts now appear to be a lost cause. More importantly, Prosser’s victory will preserve the conservative tilt of Wisconsin’s supreme court, paving the way for the controversial union legislation, currently facing legal challenges, to be enacted into law.

Judge Prosser’s margin of victory was 7,316 votes out of nearly 1.5 million cast, which provides Ms. Kloppenburg the right to challenge the results, as state law allows for such if a candidate’s margin of victory is less .5 percent of the vote. Mr. Prosser’s edge was 0.488 percent. The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) won’t certify the results until a recount is completed, or Ms. Kloppenburg declines the opportunity to have one conducted. She has until April 20th at 5 pm to make up her mind.

Last Monday, Prosser declared himself the winner. “A funny thing happened to me on the way to my concession speech,” he said. “The people of Wisconsin told me to tear it up, and go back to work.” The concession to which Mr. Prosser was referring involved the victory speech given by Ms. Kloppenburg the day after the election, when it was initially reported that she had prevailed by 204 votes. “You know the numbers show that we won, and we are gratified to have that victory in hand,” said Ms. Kloppenburg at the time. Those tallies, however, were unofficial, and it was the official vote that defeated Ms. Kloppenburg. Because of the substantial difference in the current totals, Mr. Prosser made it clear he considered a recount unnecessary. “Admittedly the election was uncomfortably close,” Prosser said. “My opponent ran a very effective campaign. But now that all 72 counties have completed their canvasses, the result of the election is not in doubt.”

Prosser campaign advisor Brian Schimming was even more direct: “We don’t feel that there is a need for a recount,” he said. “The largest number of votes–statewide–that’s ever been turned around is 489 votes, and we are now at 7,316? So we really don’t see the need for a recount right now. It would be enormously costly, and there’s just no evidence there to suggest that a recount’s needed.” Melissa Mulliken, Kloppenburg’s campaign manger, refused to reveal her candidate’s intentions. “State statute clearly contemplates recounts when the margin is less than one-half of 1 percent, as it is in this case,” she said.

The vote turnaround occurred when Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus reported on April 7th that, in her initial count, she had omitted 14,315 votes from the city of Brookfield which she had failed to save on her computer. The GAB investigated, but Democrats demanded an expansion of that investigation, citing a 2006 attorney general race in which the results showed 174,047 votes, but only 156,804 ballots cast. Yet Kevin Kennedy, director of the GAB, while conceding that there was “negligence in the way things were handled on Election night,” reported that the board hasn’t found any evidence of vote fraud. Mr. Kennedy added that they were already looking into 2006, explaining that the vote discrepancy then was the difference between votes scanned by Wisconsin’s voting machines and those that were hand counted. Less widely reported about the current election was a correction in the county of Milwaukee, where 409 votes were added for Prosser and 398 for Kloppenburg, a net gain of 11 votes for Prosser. That discrepancy was due to the fact that two wards on Milwaukee’s south side had reported totals for absentee votes only.

As most Americans know, this race was the latest chance for Wisconsin voters to weigh in on that state’s attempt, led by Governor Walker and the Republican-controlled state legislature, to restrict the collective bargaining power of the state’s government unions solely to wages, and eliminate mandatory dues collection. That effort led to weeks of protests, the flight of 14 Democrat legislators from the state in order to prevent a vote on the issue, a torrent of hate mail and death threats directed a Republic state legislators, as well as a disturbing letter sent to a local businessman by union members demanding he rescind his support of Governor Walker or face a boycott.

Unsurprisingly, as reported by the Brennan Center for Justice, a record amount of spending on television ad campaigns was underwritten by “special interest groups” whose focus was largely centered on negative and attack ad campaigning. The center also notes that only Pennsylvania has spent more on state supreme court elections between 2007-2011.

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  • mike

    Observers present during the recount makes Prosser very nervous indeed.

  • davarino

    In my view there shouldnt be unions in government period. You want to be in a union, go to the private sector, which hasnt been working out to well either. The unions are going through a transition, kicking and screaming just like management did when unions started. Now the unions have gone to far the other way and management is taking thier business some where else.

    Unions will have to back down a hair if they are to regain acceptability again. What tax payer in Wisconsin wants to pay more in taxes than they have to just so some schmuck can have it better than them?

  • Steve Chavez

    How many jobs were lost when companies, that were tired of Union demands of higher and higher wages and benefits under the threat of blackmail, just packed up and moved to China, India, and every where but here? Could it be that these very unions are causing the rise of unemployment, not only in their jobs but all the jobs associated with those jobs? What are the average wages of a UAW employee? How many unqualified teachers, who have little to no control of their classroom, are kept on only due to their union? How many unions resort to blackmail and threaten strikes with hopes of crippling that company unless their demands are approved?

    This election victory is an amazing feat since so much union money was put into the challenge, especially from the Marxist Mafia SEIU!

    Now the recall challenge! Is every victory by a Republican going to be challenged with a recall? If I were in a state that did this, I would automatically vote for the one being recalled! The people voted them in with a general election. Only pure incompetence would require me to vote otherwise. Only based on pure politics would not!

    • Sprinklerman

      Agreed Steve.

      I have seen first hand how unions haven't only caused jobs to go overseas, but how many manufacturing jobs in the northeast have gone to right to work states south of the Mason Dixon.

      The unions always say that they are for the Brotherhood/Sisterhood. But when push comes to shove, and it's either layoffs or lower wages, 51% of the membership votes the way the Union leadership wants them to. Most of the time, it involves layoffs of the members with the least amount of seniority, you know the ones with the mortgage, car payments and kids in school. So much for brotherhood/sisterhood!

  • Chezwick_mac

    Walker's ability to implement his cost-cutting agenda has nationwide implications. Other states are destined to follow suit and the public union stranglehold on state-spending policy will soon become a thing of the past.

    This is huge folks. It's the beginning of the end of the long slide towards insolvency. Now, we need a Republican in the WH to follow suit on the federal level.

  • Wesley69

    The two defeats of the Progressive forces have taken their toll and the consequences of these defeats are yet to be seen. But, the events in Wisconsin may signal the beginning of the end of union power. If other states follow Wisconsin's lead, they may adopt Right to Work laws that will allow for an employee to choose whether he/she wants to join a union or not. Choose is the enemy of unions, just as Card Check is the enemy of choose. Maybe more states will end the practice of the closed shop where an employee must join a union or be fired.

  • Gregg

    Union, democrat, progressive and liberal are all just Orwellian words for communist. Union thugs will all pay in the afterlife.

  • pyeatte

    Public Employees unions are responsible for much of the corruption in government due to the nature of the negotiations between the unions and the politicians who are supported by them. FDR and AFL-CIO president George Meany were opposed to them for this very reason. Time to wakeup and eliminate this cancer. Notice that Federal workers do not have collective bargining rights with Congress or the Executive branch and notice that Obama wants to keep it that way.

  • Supreme_Galooty

    While most people are not aware of it, American manufacturing is exceedingly strong. American manufacturing all by itself generates more economic wealth than every country in the world save two. (It is tied with Germany for third place.)

    What has fled offshore are lower level manufacturing jobs. They have literally been FORCED out of this country by a combination of things:

    1. The highest corporate tax rate of almost any country in the world.
    2. Excessive, oppressive government regulations (OSHA, EPA, EEOC, etc., etc.)
    3. Aggressive labour unions and inordinately labour-friendly politicians and laws.
    4. An uneducated work force that is also afflicted with a pitiful work ethic.
    5. A deteriorating dollar (inflation) that leads to ever increasing commodity prices.
    6. A legal system that is a crap shoot at best, especially favouring "labour."

  • Matt

    So now all that's left is to make sure that boxes of votes aren't mysteriously found in the trunks of cars like they were in Franken's election in Minnesota.

  • Boycottman

    Recall petitions have already been filed against four Republican Senators. Four more Republican Senators and Walker come next.