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April 6, 2011
WI Supreme Court race probably headed for a recount (updated with final results)
Now the Kloppenburg lead is 224, and still 3 precincts out- two in Milwaukee County, which should be god for Kloppenburg unless they are suburban precicnpts, and one in Jefferson, a good GOP county (might give Prosser 100 vote margin). It is likely, I think, she will have a small edge going into the recount (less than 500) unless the remaining 2 precincts in Milwaukee County are from the inner city, which would give her more of a boost.
A massive turnout on both sides for the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat currently held by Justice David Prosser apparently has decided nothing.
Prosser holds a slim 835 vote lead as of 9:00 am central time this morning over union toady JoAnne Kloppenburg. This means a possible recount with the usual court filings and suits.
That close margin had political insiders from both sides talking about the possibility of a recount, which Wisconsin has avoided in statewide races in recent decades. Any recount could be followed by lawsuits - litigation that potentially would be decided by the high court.
National unions have been involved in the race from the start, outspending conservative interest groups. Any legal fight would be very expensive but given the stakes, it's hard to imagine either side not being able to raise the funds necessary to carry on the contest.
As in other close races around the country, the trick will be to keep the Democrats from counting...and counting...and counting...until they get the result they want. With no margin for error, Republicans would be wise to stick to the letter of the law and not give in to calls to "count every vote" - even those that were never cast.
Thomas Lifson adds:
Incumbent Justice David Prosser holds a 585 vote lead as of 10 AM EDT, with 99% of precincts reporting this morning. The race is regarded as critical to union efforts to overturn the state's new labor union laws protecting workers against forced collection of union dues, and as Rick noted, unions poured in money and manpower. It is clear that the aroused citizenry of Wisconsin was not about to let the unions triumph.
Turnout was high, Ben Jones of USA Today:
Unless the final precincts to report are heavily pro-Kloppenburg (as has happened in Washington State, Minnesota, and elsewhere, with newly "discovered" votes tipping an election to the Democrat), Prosser will eke out a victory. According to Jones:
Should Kloppenburg magically come up with a ballot box stuffed votes for her, and end up like Al Franken, a victor under suspicious circumstances, she will face a serious challenge to her sitting in judgment on the state's newly passed labor relations law. Ann Althouse, a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School notes that her campaign signs indicate that she has already made up her mind on the law, and therefore must recuse herself:
Update from Richard Baehr:
Kloppenberg has taken the lead, now 140. Ten precincts left (out of 3630), and all but 1 are in counties she won. It is a huge advantage to head into a recount as the candidate with the lead, especially in a "good government" state like Wisconsin, with a GOP governor who has reviled by most of the state and national media. Kloppenberg lead is now almost 447 with 5 precincts left. 2 of the 5 are in Milwaukee County, and unless they are suburban precincts, Prosser will lose.
Counties with big Democrtic advantage have slowly announced the the last precincts released during the night and early morning -- shades of Illinois presidential race in 1960 (how many votes do we need?).
Update from Richard Baehr:
As of noon EDT, the Kloppenburg lead is 224, and still 3 precincts out -- two in Milwaukee County, which should be god for Kloppenburg unless they are suburban precints, and one in Jefferson, a good GOP county (which might give Prosser 100 vote margin). It is likely, I think, she will have a small edge going into the recount (less than 500) unless the remaining 2 precincts in Milwaukee County are from the inner city, which would give her more of a boost.
Why does it take over 12 hours to report results from a precinct? There were a 100 not reporting hours after polls closed.
The missing precinct is Lake Mills. If it goes 2 to 1 for Prosser, we could have a tie (700-760 votes estimated to be left with Kloppenburg ahead by 235). Jefferson County went 4 to 3 for Prosser.
Polls are all in. Kloppenburg wins by 204 votes.