Will a tight mayoral election between Paul Soglin and Dave Cieslewicz help JoAnne Kloppenburg in her bid to unseat David Prosser on the Wisconsin Supreme Court? The theory is that a mayoral election in Madison increases turnout in a precinct likely to be very Kloppenburg-friendly.
But I don’t think the effect will be so big. Supreme Court races here have tended to draw about 800,000 voters. (Compare with the 2.1 million who voted in the 2010 governor’s race.) There have been three State Supreme Court elections in the last five years. The election that included a Madison mayoral race drew 90,000 voters from Dane County; the one that featured a County Executive contest got 100,000. The other, the high-profile race between Louis Butler and Michael Gableman, got 70,000 Dane County votes. In each of these, Dane County gave a large majority of its votes to the more liberal candidate.
So let’s say the Soglin-Cieslewicz race brings out an extra 30K Madison voters on April 5. Based on previous Supreme Court votes, give 75% of these to Kloppenburg. That gives her an extra margin of 15,000 votes, or about 2%. Not that big a swing, when you’re trying to unseat an incumbent justice, something that’s only been done once in the last forty years.
That one time, by the way, was Gableman’s victory over Butler. Gableman won by 23,000 votes. If Madison had elected a mayor on 2008, it’s just possible Butler would still be on the Court.
While we’re talking about the spring election — people in comments, especially old Madison hands, should feel free to lobby for a mayoral candidate. I’m undecided. Here’s Cieslewicz’s blog and here’s Soglin’s.
And, of course, if you live in Wisconsin, don’t forget to vote on April 5.
I’m voting for Soglin. During Cieslewicz’s tenure, stress levels have risen sharply for city employees. Two cases visible to the public involve Arthur Ross, the bicycle coordinator, and the director of the planning department. I don’t think anyone believes that it was a coincidence that it was announced that the planning director’s contract was not going to be renewed just as the Edgewater controversy began. Cieslewicz likes yes men and women, and I’m sure the planning director expressed reservations about the project. The way in which they are getting rid of Arthur Ross is breathtakingly cynical. They merely eliminated his position from the budget and created a new position with a slightly different title and slightly different job description. Arthur worked for over twenty years for the city and was dedicated to his job. No one ever told him that they were dissatisfied with the way he was doing his job, and in fact the mayors office has never had discussions with him. The move to replace him did not even come from his own department. The plot was hatched by the mayor’s office, and, as most people think, at the behest of the Madison Bicycle Federation and Trek Bicycle. I have no memory of such top-down and cynical management style from Soglin. Cieslewicz’s public image does not match the private image. I know much more about what’s been happening at the city, but it’s running late tonight.
One additional brief item: I’ll never forgive Cieslewicz for that day when they stupidly delayed salting the streets resulting in uneven melting that made driving down Johnson Street a nightmare of horrific bumps that probably took a year or two off the life of my car. One positive thing about this mayoral election is that suddenly the city has been doing a concerted job of snow plowing.
And yes, I’m also voting for Kloppenburg. Unless the balance of the court changes, Walker, Fitzgerald, and the WMC will have nothing standing in the way of radical moves yet to come.
For more details on Richard Seguin’s post regarding city employees’ fear of Cieslewicz’ retribution, see:
“Paul Soglin will punch you in the face, but Dave Cieslewicz will stab you in the back.”
[…] Last week I speculated that, in a best-case scenario for Joanne Kloppenburg, spring turnout in Dane County could jump from the usual 75,000 or so to as high as 100,000. […]