Voter turnouts could vary throughout stateWisconsin News
-- Voter turnouts could vary widely throughout Wisconsin today. The Government Accountability Board predicts the statewide turnout to be around 20-percent.
Voter turnouts could vary widely throughout Wisconsin today. The Government Accountability Board predicts the statewide turnout to be around 20-percent.
But in Outagamie County – where two former state officials are running for county executive – officials expect a 30-percent turnout. Former Republican State Treasurer Jack Voight and former Assembly Democratic leader Tom Nelson are running for a non-partisan office. But the race has been perceived to be largely along party lines.
The same is true for the county executive races in Milwaukee County and the State Supreme Court race – in which the court’s 4-3 conservative majority hangs in the balance. A big turnout is expected in Madison, where state union workers have been trying to get voters behind JoAnne Kloppenburg to unseat conservative Justice David Prosser.
But the contest might not be as big of a draw in some parts of Wisconsin. Neenah City Clerk Patty Sturn says the heavy attack ads in the race normally don’t draw voters as much as the local races do. Madison has some of the biggest local contests in the state, thanks to lively contests for mayor and county executive. Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is facing former two-time mayor Paul Soglin. Early voting in Madison has been running ahead of the 2008 presidential election.
National labor and Tea Party groups are putting money into tomorrow’s State Supreme Court race, using it as a referendum in a national labor rights’ battle. The liberal Greater Wisconsin Committee has spent almost a million-dollars as of last week slamming conservative Justice David Prosser, and equating him with GOP Governor Scott Walker. Four conservative groups – including California’s Tea Party Express – have spent around one-and-a-quarter million dollars attacking Prosser’s challenger, assistant attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg.
The race is supposed to be non-partisan, but a Kloppenburg victory would end the Supreme Court’s 4-3 conservative majority. And union supporters say it might help their cause as the court eventually considers the state law which takes away public union bargaining powers. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel endorsed Prosser yesterday. It said Kloppenburg is clearly qualified, and she has the potential to be a fair-and-independent justice. But the Journal-Sentinel said Prosser is clearly independent, in spite of 18 years as a Republican in the state Assembly. The paper said that while some justices vote together all the time on various issues, Prosser has not voted with any single justice more than 85-percent of the time. And despite his well-publicized temper, the paper said Prosser has a record of being even-handed in 12 years on the state’s highest court.
Republican Governor Scott Walker says voters should use legislative races and not the Supreme Court race as a referendum on his policies. But critics say it was Walker who made running against a phantom opponent an art form, when he equated Democrat Tom Barrett with outgoing Governor Jim Doyle in his own campaign last year.