JoAnne Kloppenburg

Tammy Baldwin Asks Eric Holder To Investigate Wisconsin Supreme Court Election

Huffington Post

After the bombshell announcement that a Waukesha County clerk forgot to report thousands of votes in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court election, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to involve the federal government in the ongoing investigation.

Last Tuesday’s election, which pitted conservative incumbent David Prosser against progressive candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg, appeared to end with Kloppenburg winning by a razor-thin margin, with initial results showing her just a couple of hundred votes ahead. But on Thursday, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus held a dramatic press conference and admitted that she had forgotten to report the votes of the city of Brookfield. The adjusted total gave Prosser a 7,500-vote advantage.

On Friday evening, Baldwin sent a letter to Holder, saying that many of her constituents had expressed concern about the announcement. She requested that the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section, which oversees the federal prosecution of election crimes, investigate the handling of Waukesha County’s vote records.

“For our democracy to endure, we, the people, must have faith in its laws and system of justice, including faith that our elections for public office are fair and free from any manipulating or tampering,” wrote Baldwin. “Following this week’s election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, numerous constituents have contacted me expressing serious doubt that this election was a free and fair one. They fear, as I do, that political interests are manipulating the results.”            

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Walker’s Loss: 19 Counties Flip To Dems In Wis. Supreme Court Election

Huffington Post

A divisive budget battle between labor unions and Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) turned a state Supreme Court race into a nationally watched bellwether on the electorate’s mood heading into a recall campaign and the 2012 elections.

Nearly 1.5 million people turned out to vote, representing 33.5 percent of voting-age adults — 68 percent higher than the 20 percent turnout officials had expected. JoAnne Kloppenburg has already declared victory, with the vote tallies showing her beating incumbent David Prosser by just a couple hundred votes. The race is expected to head to a recount.

Significantly, 19 counties that went for Walker in the 2010 elections this time flipped and went for Kloppenburg, including LaCrosse (59 percent), Sauk (56 percent) and Dunn (56 percent).

There were no party affiliations on the ballot, but Kloppenburg was heavily backed by Democrats and Prosser by Republicans, making it a fierce proxy battle for the two parties.

On a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate was jubilant over the results, saying they represent a “watershed moment for Wisconsin and a Waterloo for Scott Walker.”

“It should give Republicans, who are — for the moment — in the majority, pause about how they proceed in enacting Walker’s terrible budget,” he added.    

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Morphs Into Intense, Expensive Contest

It’s going to be a long process in determining the winner.  Here is a pretty up to date and dynamic tally.

Huffington Post

A Wisconsin Supreme Court election that offered the public its first formal opportunity to weigh in on the national fight over union rights was very close in the early Tuesday.

Initial returns showed incumbent Justice David Prosser locked in a virtual dead heat with challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. An assistant state attorney general, Kloppenburg began her campaign with almost no name recognition and faced what looked like an uphill fight against Prosser.

But her campaign has surged in recent days as her supporters worked to focus anger over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s divisive collective bargaining law onto the conservative-leaning Prosser. The law’s opponents hope a Kloppenburg victory will tilt the Supreme Court to the left and set the stage for the court to strike down the law. Election officials in Madison and Milwaukee have noted higher voter interest in what would have been an otherwise sleepy contest.

The measure strips most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. Walker has said the move is needed to help balance the state’s budget. Democrats say it’s designed to cripple unions, which are among their strongest campaign supporters, and tens of thousands of people spent weeks at the state Capitol protesting the plan.

The law eventually passed, but is on hold as legal challenges make their way through the courts. Many expect the state Supreme Court ultimately will decide the issue.

The seven-member high court is officially nonpartisan. But Prosser, who is seeking a second 10-year term, is seen as part of a conservative four-justice majority. Kloppenburg’s allies have presented her as an alternative that would tilt the court’s ideological balance to the left.

Prosser has told The Associated Press he doesn’t necessarily agree with the law. Still, bitter Democrats have portrayed him as a Walker clone, helping Kloppenburg’s campaign gain traction over the last few weeks.

Pat Heiser, 76, said the union struggles weighed heavily on her decision to vote for Kloppenburg.

“I think collective bargaining should be a human right,” Heiser said. “We’re not slaves anymore; that ended in the 1860s.”

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Prosser’s campaign: http://www.justiceprosser.com

Kloppenburg’s campaign: http://www.kloppenburgforjustice.com