A couple of my friends recommended Rick Ungar’s piece in Forbes on today’s election, but I think he overstates the good news for Wisconsin Democrats by a long way.
To illustrate the point, consider that Judge Prosser won his last election to the bench by garnering 99.54% of the 550,000 votes cast. That is no typo – Prosser actually won almost every single vote that was cast.
So when Wisconsin held its primary to choose the top two candidates for the requisite general election run-off, it was no surprise that Judge Prosser garnered 55% of the vote. The closest remaining vote getter, Joanne Kloppenburg, an unknown Assistant State Attorney General, managed only 25% of the few votes that were cast….
Remember, Judge Prosser won his last election with over 99% of the vote. In this election, he not only lost a full 50% of that voter base, it would appear that he has lost his seat on the bench. Considering that he was involved in no scandal or other event that could explain such a remarkable reversal of fortune, I suspect we would have to search long and wide to find another election in our history with a similar result. Should Prosser ultimately prevail in the recount, there is still no getting around the fact that he’s taken an historic tumble in voter support.
I think it is, therefore, safe to say that the Democratic base has been ignited in the State of Wisconsin.
Yes, Prosser won all but 2,569 votes in his 2001 election. But he was running unopposed. To refer to 99.5% of Wisconsin as his “voter base” is thus a bit rich. Unfair, too, to compare Kloppenburg’s 50% of the vote to her 25% share in the primary, which wasn’t a two-person race; three viable candidates were competing to go up against Prosser. The total primary vote was 55% Prosser, 44% “somebody less tied to the GOP than Prosser.” To make up a 10-point deficit in two months is no small trick — but it’s hardly historic.