State Political News Briefs: State wants recount of Supreme Court race done by May 9Wisconsin News
-- Wisconsin county clerks were told yesterday to finish their recounts for the State Supreme Court election by May 9th – and to work weekends if necessary to get it done.
Wisconsin county clerks were told yesterday to finish their recounts for the State Supreme Court election by May 9th – and to work weekends if necessary to get it done.
Nearly all of the 72 county clerks and their employees took part in a telephone conference call with the Government Accountability Board yesterday. They had numerous questions about how the recount will work. It begins tomorrow in all courthouses around the state. Court challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg asked for the recount, after incumbent Justice David Prosser won the official canvass by 7,316 votes out of one-and-a-half-million cast on April fifth. All sessions will be open to the public, and the clerks were told that representatives from both campaigns will be in every county. Attorney Mike Haas said those representatives can look at the ballots, but they cannot touch them or write on them. Any ballots that raise objections will be reviewed by the county’s canvassing board, in consultation with state officials if necessary. And if it looks like the tallies won’t be done by May 9th, board director Kevin Kennedy said he would ask a judge for an extension.
Kloppenburg questioned the validity of the original count in several counties, especially Waukesha County where the clerk forgot to include Brookfield in her Election Night tally. Prosser said the recount’s not necessary, because no candidate has overcome his 7,300 vote margin of victory. This is believed to be only the third statewide recount in history. The last one in 1989 involved a referendum. The only other one involving candidates was in 1858.
Recall efforts have failed against two Wisconsin Democratic senators. Petitioners did not file signatures by a deadline of yesterday against Fred Risser of Madison and Lena Taylor of Milwaukee. That leaves 14 senators who could still face recall elections because of their actions involving the bill to limit collective bargaining by public employee unions. The Government Accountability Board is reviewing petitions for recall elections against eight senators – five Republicans and three Democrats. Organizers have until today to file petitions against Senate Democrat G. Spencer Coggs of Milwaukee. The two senators who escaped recall efforts are among the most secure members of the Senate. Both Risser and Taylor were unopposed when they ran for re-election in 2008 in heavily Democratic districts. Risser is the nation’s longest-serving lawmaker in his 55th year in office. Taylor has been in the Legislature for almost a decade.
Republican strategist Karl Rove had glowing words for Governor Scott Walker when he spoke last night to hundreds of people at UW-Milwaukee. In Rove’s words, “Your governor did an extraordinarily courageous thing by standing up.” He was referring to Walker’s efforts to virtually strip most public employee unions of their collective bargaining powers. Rove said every state faces the same issue, and he says proposals similar to Walker’s are gaining traction elsewhere. Rove said local governments and school districts have quote, “basically bought the peace” when they increased employee benefits that don’t have to be covered for years after the officials who approved them leave office. Rove says we’ll either get reforms, or systems that go bankrupt. Rove also spent a good part of his Milwaukee speech slamming President Obama’s domestic policies. He praised the budget plan brought by Janesville House Republican Paul Ryan, while calling Obama’s proposal a disaster that will quote, “sink our country.”
A special election has not been called yet, but six Democrats have already lined up to run for a vacant state Assembly seat in the Madison area. They hope to replace Democrat Joe Parisi, who resigned after he was elected the new Dane County Executive. The candidates say they’re upset to various degrees by the policies of Republican Governor Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled Legislature. Parisi is more diplomatic, saying that Dane County people are always politically-engaged – and opportunities for an open legislative seat don’t come along too often. Five candidates have filed initial paperwork with the state – Planned Parenthood public policy director Chris Taylor, former Madison alderman and county supervisor Fred Arnold, legislative staffers Vicky Selkowe and Bethany Ordaz, and Dane County supervisor Patrick Miles. County Board member Dave de Felice has not filed but has said he would also run. No Republicans have run yet in a district that includes rural and suburban areas, plus part of Madison’s east side. Parisi says he won’t endorse anyone.