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On Tuesday, Republican Governor Scott Walker handily defeated Democrat Tom Barrett, and Republican Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch did the same against Democrat Mahlon Mitchell. Both triumphed by nine-point margins amidst heavy voter turnout. Thus, the first state that allowed collective bargaining for government employees beginning in 1959 has come full circle. Walker’s victory is a repudiation of government unions that have strained state budgets across the nation, and may mark the first step towards bringing the nation back to fiscal sanity.
Tuesday was not without drama. Democrats accused Walker proponents of cheating, contending that calls were being made telling people if they’d signed the recall, they didn’t need to vote. State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) sent a letter to Government Accountability Board Director Kevin Kennedy requesting an investigation into “such persons that are committing election fraud and misdemeanor crimes by their individual or group communications.” On the other side, an alleged Michigan resident calling himself Mike phoned into WMAL’s The Chris Plante Show claiming that Michigan’s “Democrat Unions” had organized a convoy of 4 buses, filled with Michigan Democrats who intended to illegally vote for Tom Barrett. And according to Election Protection, a D.C.-based voters rights group, hundreds of voters called a hotline to complain about being asked for photo ID even though it wasn’t required for this election, and about difficulty voting due to a new 28-day residency requirement in the state.
The days immediately preceding the election were equally colorful. Bernadette Gillick, a University of Minnesota professor, accused Walker of fathering a love child with her college roommate, a woman called “Ruth” to protect her identity. Walker denied the allegation calling it “horrific” and “ridiculous.” More importantly, so did “Ruth” in a subsequent interview with the WCMC. “I can confirm that it was not Scott Walker who is my daughter’s father,” she said. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online “Watchdog” reporter Daniel Bice corroborated the denial, further noting that Ruth believes “Dr. Gillick is mixing up stories.” Bice also checked Wisconsin’s Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP) and discovered “it has taken a family court suit involving Scott Alan Walker and mixed it up with the governor, Scott Kevin Walker.” Despite such an obvious debunking, the story remained posted on left-leaning blogs as the latest reason to oust the Governor.
In another telling development, the United States Department of Justice announced Monday that they would be monitoring election returns in the various locales around the country, including the city of Milwaukee, to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Milwaukee is Wisconsin’s largest city and Democrats believed a large turnout in the city where Barrett beat Walker by almost 50 points in 2010 would be the key to an upset victory.
Many critics were skeptical regarding the DOJ’s seemingly newfound interest in protecting the integrity of the voting process. They cited U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s indifference to two New Black Panther Party members intimidating voters in Philadelphia in 2008, his lawsuits challenging voter ID requirements in Texas and South Carolina despite validation of voter ID by the U.S. Supreme Court, and DOJ’s latest attempt to prevent Florida from cleaning up their voter rolls.
But by mid-evening Tuesday, none of the gamesmanship mattered. The margin of Walker’s victory was large enough that any attempt to challenge it is doomed to fail.
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