One of the recurring talking points among Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's supporters in his efforts to neuter public employee unions has been this: Voters swept Republicans into control of the state last November, so get out of the way and let him do the people's will.
Today, the people's will is a little less clear.[jump]
Assistant attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg has declared victory over incumbent Justice David Prosser in a statewide Supreme Court election widely seen as a proxy fight over Walker's policies. Prosser openly supported Walker, and promised to work with him if re-elected, during the campaign:
Despite Kloppenburg's move this afternoon, the race is likely headed for a recount -- she's ahead by about 200 votes this afternoon as the ballot counting drags on.
But what happened to the massive groundswell of support that Walker and his allies claimed in the face of union protests in Madison that lasted weeks? Indeed, what happened to the 55-25 margin of support Prosser won against Kloppenburg when they first faced off in a primary race last fall?
Apparently, it's gone.
Republicans are said to be making a silk purse out of a sow's ear with this news. If their man eventually wins the expected recount, they will claim to have vanquished an army of evil liberals who threw everything they had at Prosser but still lost. (The Washington Post points out that pro-Prosser forces outspent the Kloppeburg team by a wide margin.)
If Prosser loses, their talking points will veer towards allegations that wealthy liberal outsiders funded a campaign to thwart the will of Wisconsinites, as if weeks of protests, 14 Democratic nsenators abandoning their posts, and a very public airing of the details in the union-busting bill, didn't have something to do with voters turning their backs on Walker's tea partying ways.
There are "two very different worlds in this state. You've got a world driven by Madison, and a world driven by everybody else out across the majority of the rest of the state of Wisconsin," Walker said at a press conference in the Capitol.
But that talking point falls short: Kloppenburg tallied about 740,000 votes. Of those, 133,000 came from Dane County and Madison. The rest came from the "real" Wisconsin.
UPDATE: Rightblogger Ed Morrissey's already at it. Prosser "should have been toast," he writes at Hot Air. "The organizing power of the unions should have been overwhelming."
UPDATE: John Hinderaker at PowerLine falls into line. Kloppenburg couldn't possibly have won the race legitimately: "I assume she will win, and if the final result is within a few hundred votes, I assume it will have been procured by fraud, of which there is some evidence."
UPDATE: SmartPolitics crunched the numbers and found that Kloppenburg broke a record: Her vote "ranks fifth all time for raw ballots received, although first for a contested race."
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