Extrapolating from Last Night’s Results to the State Senate Recalls

Yesterday when voters in Wisconsin looked at ballots and made choices for state supreme court and other offices–such as Milwaukee County executive, where Scott Walker’s chosen successor was crushed by the Democrat–they saw only names and offices, but no party identification. In such races the incumbent usually has a greater chance of winning than in partisan races, because it puts an even higher value on name identification. Nevertheless, Democratic-backed challenger JoAnn Kloppenburg went from only 25% of the vote for supreme court in the first round to a tie with Republican-backed incumbent David Prosser, whose percentage fell from 55% to 50%. Similarly, Democrat Chris Abele went from 25% in the first round for Milwaukee County executive, 18 points behind Republican state senator Jeff Stone, to a 61%-39% beat-down last night. I’m still thinking about what exactly this means for the recall elections, but I know that anyone saying that Kloppenberg’s failure to deliver a clean kill-shot to Prosser indicates that Democrats won’t be able to recall any Republican state senators needs to answer a question. Democrats may have knocked off an incumbent justice and destroyed Scott Walker’s endorsed candidate for his old seat without partisan designation on the ballot; how in the world is that easier than winning a rawly partisan race where the partisanship of the candidates is clearly marked on the ballot and polling shows the Republican numbers in the tank?

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One Response to Extrapolating from Last Night’s Results to the State Senate Recalls

  1. DCCyclone says:

    I agree Dana, but my further takeaway from last night is that both sides had very high turnout, but then swing voters went our way. That’s what Prosser’s drop from 55 to 50, and Stone’s drop from 43 to 39, tell us. It’s just that Prosser held on to just the thinnest sliver of swing voters to survive–assuming his lead holds up which is not assured.

    Prosser surviving last night is akin to people like Mark Critz and Tim Bishop surviving last year, or name any other endangered incumbent Dem who eeked it out because that’s just how the ball bounces on election day, swing voters and results are erratic enough that the favored party never quite gets a clean sweep.

    What I think this means for the recalls is that likely both sides’ partisans again will show up in large numbers, but swing voters likely will go our way. The thing is, while we likely knock off Kapanke and Hopper under those circumstances, the others might stay true tossups, and then Wirch might be an endangered Dem if it’s true that the Repubs have enough signatures to force a recall on him as I’ve seen reported. So far from a slam dunk we’ll get the state Senate back through the recalls this year, still a ton of work to do, it will be hotly contested.

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