An obscure local run-off became a nationally-watched plebiscite on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's anti-collective bargaining bill
What should have been an obscure regional judicial run-off election Tuesday turned into a dramatic referendum on Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his controversial law banning collective bargaining for public employees, and as the final votes were tallied in the close race Wednesday afternoon it became clear: Walker lost.
With 100 percent of the votes counted, Democrat-backed challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg declared victory over GOP-supported state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, the incumbent. She held a razor-thin 204 vote lead out of nearly 1.5 million ballots cast.
"JoAnne didn't have a prayer before the Budget Repair bill," Democratic Wisconsin state Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller said on a conference call Wednesday afternoon, "now she's a harbinger of success."
Indeed, the results of February's first round of voting for the judicial seat yielded 55 percent for Prossner and only 25 percent for Kloppenburg (in Wisconsin, the top two candidates in such races go to an automatic run-off vote). That means over the course of just six weeks Kloppenburg doubled her support across the state, while Republicans lost significant ground.