For those not following it, Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg eked out a 204 vote victory over David Prosser in an election for the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. Even though this thin margin might get overturned in a recount, it is great news for those who like me have seen Wisconsin as Ground Zero in the battle for worker and union rights. There are several reasons.
The most dramatic is the enormous turnaround involved here. Prosser is a longterm politician in the state who was once House Speaker in the Assembly (with the GOP in charge) and is the incumbent, while Kloppenburg is nearly unknown and never ran for office before. In the primary some months ago, Prosser was 30% ahead of her, although he had failed to win a majority. So, she came from way behind, with only a few weeks ago many saying she had no chance. Clearly this comeback reflected a huge surge of changed opinion.
Also, this changes the balance on the court, which may end up ruling on the various anti-union and worker laws Governor Scott Walker has been pushing through. Prosser was the most conservative member of a court with a clear 4-3 conservative majority, now to be switched, although it must be noted that officially the supreme court elections are non-partisan. But Prosser's Republican affiliations were well known, and he apparently served as a mentor of the new governor.
I cannot also resist noting that Walker has responded to this by blaming it all on the city of Madison, essentially claiming it does not deserve to be a part of the state. As it is, in the Madison mayoral election, previous two term Mayor, Paul Soglin, handily defeated incumbent Dave Czislewicz (sp?). The latter is reasonably progressive, but Soglin (who was a recently ex-student radical when first elected mayor in 1973) ran strongly on the matter of the recent demos in the city, and so support for him reflects this strong sentiment that has the gov so whinily annoyed, hah!