JoAnne Kloppenburg, the liberal-backed challenger in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, has declared victory against incumbent conservative Justice David Prosser, whose campaign is gearing up to seek a recount of this very big upset.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
reports Kloppenburg's statement:
"We owe Justice Prosser our gratitude for his more than 30 years of public service. Wisconsin voters have spoken and I am grateful for, and humbled by, their confidence and trust. I will be independent and impartial and I will decide cases based on the facts and the law. As I have traveled the State, people tell me they believe partisan politics do not belong in our Courts. I look forward to bringing new blood to the Supreme Court and focusing my energy on the important work Wisconsin residents elect Supreme Court justices to do."
With 100% of precincts reporting, the Associated Press gives Kloppenburg a lead of 204 votes out of nearly 1.5 million cast. A Kloppenburg win would shift the balance of the court, from 4-3 conservative to 4-3 liberal.
Given the political security that Wisconsin Justices usually enjoy, Prosser should have been re-elected easily as of just a few weeks ago. However, the political backlash against Republican Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation has galvanized liberal activists, who brought in a late but very energetic game for the election.
Late Update: The state AFL-CIO has released this statement:
Wisconsin Working Families Congratulate JoAnne Kloppenburg
"This is an enormous victory for the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who have stood up to have their voices heard and take back their government since Scott Walker began his extreme power grab," said Phil Neuenfeldt, Wisconsin State of the AFL-CIO. "Working families have stood together in the streets for months. Yesterday they stood together at polling locations throughout the state to change the shape of Wisconsin's future. Our courts are ready for the independent judgment of Joanne Kloppenburg."
"Yesterday in unprecedented numbers the working people of Wisconsin took back their democracy," explained Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. "The results of this election send a clear message that the nationwide attack against workers' rights will not be tolerated by the people."