Tomorrow’s Election Day!
Well, not everywhere, but tomorrow, April 5, in Wisconsin there’s an election being held that carries enough drama, excitement, tension and nationwide significance to gladden the heart of any political addict.
Normally this would just be a sleepy by-election drawing, on average, about 10 to 15% of registered voters to the polls. But this year, as we all know, is anything but a normal political year in Wisconsin. The contested seat is on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Incumbent David Prosser, a Republican, was until recently expected to easily hold the seat. He is being challenged by Democrat JoAnne Kloppenburg, environmental lawyer and long-time state attorney, who has strong union support. In this campaign the rancor is deep and the tension is sky-high. The Supreme Court election is seen as a proxy for the bitter battle currently being waged between governor Scott Walker and the state’s labor unions.
The court is narrowly divided, usually ruling 4-3 along conservative lines. Prosser, who was first appointed to the court by former governor Tommy Thompson to fill a vacancy in 1998, tends to align himself with the conservative majority. If Kloppenburg wins, the balance of power will shift dramatically.
From the linked article:
Both campaigns are concentrating heavily on the negative aspects of the opposing side, virtually eschewing a positive message. Much of the commentary is the same and boils down to basic assumptions. Prosser is too conservative and beholden to the Walker camp. Kloppenburg is inexperienced and in the hip pocket of the unions. Attack ads from both sides are viewed as fair game or despicable tricks, depending on which extreme of the political spectrum one falls.
The stakes could hardly be higher. This, after all, is the Supreme Court that will rule eventually not only on Wisconsin redistricting, but possibly on the statewide recall efforts currently being mounted as result of Walker’s union-stripping effort, and even on the legality of the anti-collective bargaining bill itself.
In a detailed article at National Review, Robert Costa lays out the stakes and strategy for both sides, and reports that internal polling shows the two candidates basically even…“an ominous sign for the incumbent.”
This will be the first electoral test of the strength of public opposition to Scott Walker’s union-busting bill. Polls close in Wisconsin at 8:00PM local time (CST). Check back at 538 Refugees tomorrow evening for up-to-the-minute poll results and live chat about this important election.
- What’s at stake in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race (dailykos.com)
- As WI State Supreme Court Race Nears Final Days, Prosser Campaign Co-Chair Switches Sides (news.firedoglake.com)
- “David Prosser, Pedro Colon exchange endorsements; Colon=Walker?” and related posts (uppitywis.org)