In what could possibly be one of the most interesting races since Al Franken's win in 2008, JoAnne Kloppenburg appears to have ousted David Prosser as Supreme Court Justice in Wisconsin by just over 200 votes.
This race is really a proxy vote on whether Wisconsin voters support Scott Walker's extreme policies, since it's likely that his union-busting initiatives will land in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, along with the method by which they passed them. After trading the lead several different times last night, it's down to one precinct left to report with Kloppenburg ahead by 224 votes.
Of course, this has already sparked charges from the Tea Party of voter fraud, the standard right-wing complaint whenever their guy doesn't win. You can also count on a recount and the attendant spin, which is already beginning.
Because of the closeness of the race, a Milwaukee election commissioner has asked police to guard ballots overnight. Robert Spindell, who sits on the city's Election Commission and is active in Republican politics, wrote in an email that he had made the request "until such time that a more formal procedure can be set in place."
Here's why this race is so important:
But Hagedorn’s e-mail laid it plain to Walker’s supporters: elect Prosser, or the governor’s agenda is in peril. From the e-mail:
“If Justice Prosser loses:
- The Supreme Court will shift from a 4-3 conservative majority to a 4-3 liberal majority.
- Governor Walker’s agenda could be stopped in its tracks by this new activist majority.
- Union bosses and their allies will be emboldened and further push to recall the brave Senators who voted for Governor Walker’s budget repair bill.
- (Chief Justice) Shirley Abrahamson and her allies will continue to drag down the reputation of the Court, with an additional vote to further push through their radical agenda.”
At least they didn't try to pretend they want an independent judiciary, eh?
UPDATE: Walker denies that the election was a referendum on his agenda. Right. Sure. This was just a warmup. The real referendum will be that recall election headed his way.