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.
It was actually just over 180,000! (CJ and I talked turnout on the WKOW 5:00 news.)
But devoted Republicans in Waukesha County were just as energized. And the race is now tied, almost certainly headed for an automatic recount.
OK, I can’t resist — despite my failure, here are a few more thoughts on the result.
- This was probably the least important election for liberals to win — lots of people in WI oppose the governor’s program, but it’s hard to see which part of it would be subject to constitutional challenge. Maybe voter ID, but the US Supreme Court has already ruled in favor of some state voter ID laws (with Stevens writing the 6-3 decision.)
- On the other hand, it might have been the easiest one for liberals to win. It’s hard to know what this result portends for recalls. The tie suggests that the 2010 Republican wave has receded, leaving Wisconsin in its natural 50-50 condition. But I think you need better than 50-50 to recall a sitting state senator; there’s going to be some substantial proportion of voters who think elected officials shouldn’t be recalled absent some kind of malfeasance. And Prosser seems to have done fine in Luther Olsen’s district, one of those that D’s really need to win to have a chance of flipping the Senate.
- As for recalling Walker: lots of people are pointing out that the 730,000 votes Kloppenburg got yesterday is well more than the half-million signatures needed to trigger a recall. But that’s 730,000 votes collected under conditions where you have personnel in every neighborhoood of every town in the state spending all day in a publicized location recording votes. The recall petitioners will have a lot more than one day to do it — but gathering five hundred thousand of anything is hard, especially when you have to go to it instead of it coming to you.
Those from out of state might not know that Wisconsin politics breaks pretty neatly along a northwest-southeast line. This nice map of the results from UW geography prof Eric Compas shows it pretty starkly.