Tuesday was the spring primary elections in Wisconsin. While most of the races were local ones, there were three bigger races that had some eye-opening results. These races - one for the state supreme court, one for mayor of Milwaukee and one for Milwaukee County Executive - give hope that the Wisconsin Winter is not over and that the people are ready to start taking our state back.
Wisconsin Supreme Court
The winners of this primary was the "incumbent" Rebecca Bradley and JoAnne Kloppenburg.
Bradley is the dark money candidate. She has been appointed by Scott Walker to three different judicial seats in three years, including to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court a few months ago. The right wing loves her qualifications - being a Federalist and working to advance their causes such as voter suppression.
Bradley has already received help from the dark money groups to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. They are also taking full advantage of the now non-existent election laws by openly collaborating with Bradley's campaign, going as far as using the same footage in their commercials.
Her opponent, JoAnne Kloppenburg, has had some experience dealing with the dirty politics practiced by the right wing. Kloppenburg was the person that damn nearly unseated David "Chokehold" Prosser, until the Waukesha County clerk just happened to "find" 7,000 ballots two days after the election.
Despite all of the dark money pouring into this race, Bradley barely eked out a 2% lead over Kloppenburg. It is expected that the voters who went with the third candidate in this race, Joe Donald, will go to Kloppenburg, which would give her the advantage.
Mayor of Milwaukee
The dynamics in this race is a little different. Tom Barrett is the Democratic incumbent. While Barrett is much too moderate and corporate for my taste, he was clearly the most liberal candidate in this race.
The opponent that made it through the primary is Bathroom Bob Donovan, a city alderman. Donovan's campaign is centered on wanting more cops, hating black people and being against the streetcar that Barrett wants to build using federal funding.
Barrett easily won the primary, 45-34%. Interestingly, Donovan is hedging his bets by also running for reelection as alderman and is facing a strong possibility of losing that race too.
Milwaukee County Executive
The incumbent Milwaukee County Executive is millionaire Chris Abele, son of billionaire John Abele. Abele's claims to fame are the decimation of representative government in the county, making the poorest of the poor pay for the $80 million he promised to help build a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks and working with state Republicans to take over and privatize the Milwaukee Public School System. Abele wasn't concerned about how unpopular these moves were, figuring he could always use his daddy's checkbook to buy his reelection.
To give you an idea of how bad Abele is, people refer to him as Walker Lite.
His opponent is State Senator Chris Larson. Larson led the other Democratic state senators in 2011 to leave the state for weeks to give the people a chance to organize and fight back against Scott Walker's attack on public employee unions.
Abele spent nearly $2 million of his own money on a barrage of mailers and an endless flood of radio and TV commercials. He outspent Larson by more than a 20 to 1 margin. Abele's goal was to crush the opposition and come through the primary with a huge victory.
Despite all that money, Abele found out the hard way that some things just can't be bought, and actually lost the primary to Larson.
You read that correctly. Abele spent $42.00 per vote to Larson's $2.00 per vote, and despite being the incumbent, lost the primary to his opponent.
What should make Bradley, Donovan and Abele even more nervous than their dismal performances tonight is the fact that the general election is April 5, the same day as the state's presidential primary. As the gentle reader already knows, nothing brings Democrats out to vote like a presidential election.