In early February, newly-elected Governor Scott Walker put forward a bill intended to address Wisconsin's looming budgetary issues. It included salary and benefit cuts for public-sector employees, as well as provisions that eliminated the right to collective bargaining for some, and made it significantly harder for others (by declaring the state would no longer withhold union dues, mandating annual re-certification of union representation, declaring that unions could not negotiate for anything other than salary, and capping salary increases at cost-of-living unless expressly approved via referendum). Things have gotten acrimonious.
This election was not originally expected to even be close.
Results of Feb. 15 primary:
Kloppenburg was ahead by 204 votes at the end of election night, with all precincts reporting. The change was likely due in no small part to the perception that Prosser would act as a rubber-stamp for the Walker administration. This perception was reinforced by a Prosser campaign press release that stated their goal was to protect "the conservative judicial majority and act as a common sense complement to both the new (Walker) administration and (Republican-controlled) Legislature"
A recount is all but inevitable, especially since official canvass numbers today have had shifting vote totals (the lead has swapped places more than once today alone).
If the election-night results hold, this would also be the first time in 41 years that Wisconsin has failed to re-elect an elected incumbent Justice. (Michael Gableman defeated then-Justi ce Louis Butler in 2008, but Butler had been appointed, not elected).
There was a previous thread about the actions by Governor Walker and our state GOP here. That one got sent to fat camp. Let's keep this one focused on Wisconsin Supreme Court election - I'll create others for specific topics like the lawsuit over the status of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, or the eventual efforts to recall Governor Walker when there's something new to discuss. There's already a thread about the State Senate recall efforts here.
Also: I'd like to plead for us all to make room for dissenting opinions and reasonable debate.