Meanwhile, Back in Wisconsin: JoAnne Kloppenburg Concedes
Blue Cheddar, a Wisconsin progressive blog also at WordPress.com, contributed these Kloppenburg videos to You Tube.
It’s a bitter taste in my mouth. I will admit, though, that JoAnne Kloppenburg wasn’t exactly my choice to be a Supreme. She had a spacey earnestness about her that to me was affecting and disconcerting at the same time. Nevertheless, I thought The Klop would kick tail when and where it was needed. She was my choice against someone who was infinitely worse; a choice who would help to check Governor Walker’s power. She definitely put up a courageous and well-fought campaign against David Prosser, whose new term begins in August.
Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg announced Tuesday that she will not seek judicial review of the Wisconsin Supreme Court election results, congratulating Justice David Prosser on the win.
Initial counts from the election showed Prosser defeating Kloppenburg by 7,316 votes. A controversial recount — the first statewide recount in more than 20 years — showed Prosser with 7,006 more votes.
“The recount was always about much more than the small difference in votes between the two candidates,” Kloppenburg said in the news conference. “Widespread irregularities, unintentional as they may be, around the state, along with the cascade of irregularities in Waukesha, make it clear that we must do more to ensure the electoral process in Wisconsin is beyond reproach.”
Kloppenburg said the recount analysis found that votes were miscounted in every county in the state, with more than 150 ballot bags containing tens of thousands of votes found open, unsealed or torn.
“Waukesha County had twice as many torn, open or unsealed bags as every other county in the state combined. In many cases, municipal clerks in Waukesha testified the bags weren’t torn when they left cities, towns and villages, so the security breaches occurred sometime when the bags were in Waukesha County’s custody,” Kloppenburg said.
In light of the irregularities in Waukesha County, Kloppenburg said she has sent a letter to the Government Accountability Board requesting an independent investigation of the election process within the county, adding, “We don’t need to go to court to fix the election process in Wisconsin.”
Kloppenburg added that she had sought the counsel of her closest advisers to reach her decision. There were rumors floated by the wingnuts that others were involved. “I did not have donuts with the ‘union thugs’ this morning before I came to this press conference,” she quipped.
The next Supreme Court justice to face the voters is Patience Roggensack in 2013. The justices are elected for a ten-year term. According to Wikipedia, while on the bench, Justice Roggensack voted in favor of judges “receiving cash donations from plaintiffs in cases before them.” The link from Madison.com regarding this ruling is dead. If this is true, what a winner this woman is.
Naturally the wingnuts are exultant that Prosser has prevailed. Not so fast, guys. Six GOP legislators have been approved for the upcoming recall, causing quite a bit of dismay. Some are calling for the resignation of the head of the Government Accountability Board, especially since their efforts to bring down some Democrats aren’t going so well.
State election officials on Tuesday approved recall elections against three Republican senators Tuesday but put off decisions on certifying recall petitions against three Democrats.
That drew cries of partisanship from Republicans and set up the possibility that two sets of recall elections would be held a week apart, rather than all on the same day.
“This is an example of a supposedly neutral government agency acting in a blatantly partisan manner to further the objectives of a particular political party,” said Dan Hunt, who led the effort to recall Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie).
Shane Falk, an attorney for the Government Accountability Board, said the board has been working overtime to review all the petitions, with half a dozen board employees working on them over the Memorial Day weekend. But they have not had time to fully analyze the challenges to the recalls against Democrats, which are based on different arguments than the Republican challenges.
“We’ve attempted to work concurrently on all the petitions, but we simply don’t have enough staff,” Falk told the board.
The board on Tuesday unanimously approved recall elections for Republican Sens. Rob Cowles of Allouez, Alberta Darling of River Hills and Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls. That follows rulings last week to hold recall elections for Republican Sens. Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac, Dan Kapanke of La Crosse and Luther Olsen of Ripon.
Republicans are trying to recall three Democratic senators – Wirch, Dave Hansen of Green Bay and Jim Holperin of Conover.
Meanwhile, the board has also announced that they are not prepared to approve the signatures gathered by Republicans for the recall of their three Democratic targets. Dems have alleged that the signature gathering by Republicans is fraudulent, and now the board has explicitly claimed that their reason for not approving the recall elections against Dems is that the signatures “have raised numerous factual and legal issues which need to be investigated and analyzed.”
Translation: The fraud allegations just may have something to them.
What this means: While Dems only need to net three recall elections to take back the state senate, it is now within the realm of possibility that even as twice that number of Republicans face recall elections, no Dems will. That’s a pretty sizable advantage for Dems.
To be clear, it is possible that the board will ultimately approve some or all three of the recall elections against Dems. But even if that happens, Dems still retain a significant advantage. Either way, it is clearly an important development that we now know for a fact that six recalls against Republicans will definitely proceed.
The recalls against Kapanke, Hopper, and Olson are going to be the races to watch, as these are the Fitzwalkerstan stalwarts most loathed by Dems. Randy Hopper’s marital troubles, with a lobbyist girlfriend half his age, already have many women readying their no votes. Wisconsinites are experiencing buyers’ remorse to a large degree with all the cuts that impact real people and their concerns, not only in Milwaukee or Madison, but out in the hinterlands. Moreover, Walker’s propensity to step on the corns of constituencies that would normally be sympathetic to him–the state prosecutors, for example–is also stoking the GOP recalls.
Like I said, I’m really sorry about Kloppenburg. But this is a fight that doesn’t stop with one battle. Real Dems move on, and they fight on.