Democrats have now drawn political first blood in Wisconsin, in the fight over Republican Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union law: In Milwaukee County, where Walker had previously been elected three times as county executive, the Dem-supported candidate has won in a rout -- and defeated a Republican state legislator who voted for Gov. Walker's bill.
Meanwhile, the hotly-contested state Supreme Court race, which has become proxy political battle over Walker's legislation, remains too close to call, and a recount is very possible. As of this writing, incumbent Justice David Prosser, who is supported by Republicans, leads Dem-supported Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg by less than 600 votes in the Associated Press's spreadsheet, with 99% of precincts reporting. The remaining precincts in Milwaukee County and elsewhere would likely favor Kloppenburg, with the question being just how much they do so.
The Milwaukee County race is officially non-partisan, but with 90% of precincts reporting, businessman and philanthropist Chris Abele, who has been a Democratic donor and is supported by the party, leads Republican state Rep. Jeff Stone by a whopping margin of 61%-39%. Abele has been projected as the winner by the Associated Press, and Stone has conceded. Stone had previously voted for the bill, but later sought to suggest less than total support for Walker's approach.
This office was historically Democratic, but Walker won a 2002 special election by a 55%-45% margin due to ethics scandals that sparked the resignation of the previous county executive, as well as multiple recalls of county board members. (Now in 2011, the state Democrats are spearheading recalls of Republican legislators.) Walker then won full terms with 57% of the vote in 2004, and 59% in 2008.
Now, in a massive swing, the Democrats could be about to take back the office by an even larger margin than Walker's personal best.