Wis. court race, fate of law curbing unions too close to call

A judicial election with big implications for the political fight over public-sector unions in Wisconsin was held yesterday. And the result, as of this morning is…too close to call.

First, a brief explanation of the stakes from the Journal-Sentinel in Milwaukee:

The razor-thin result was the latest twist in Wisconsin’s ongoing political turmoil. The state has drawn the attention of the nation in recent weeks because of the fight over a controversial law sharply restricting public employee unions, which caused massive weeks-long protests in the Capitol, a boycott of the Senate by Democrats and attempts to recall senators from both parties.

Interest groups on both sides had portrayed the election as a referendum on Gov. Scott Walker’s agenda and particularly on the collective bargaining law. Conservatives backed Prosser, and liberals supported Kloppenburg, even though the candidates themselves insisted they were politically neutral.

Legal challenges to the new law — which would eliminate most collective bargaining for most public employees — are expected to reach the high court, but it’s not clear if the justices would take up the case before this race’s winner is scheduled to be sworn in Aug. 1.

The conventional wisdom held that the left was more motivated in this contest, given that its union-member base is so angry about the law that limits collective bargaining by public employees to wages and eliminates automatic deduction of union dues from state workers’ paychecks. Yet, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, the candidate favored by the right, Prosser, was leading by 835 votes out of almost 1.5 million cast.

It’s safe to say the campaigns are headed for a recount, and then probably litigation.

Obviously, Wisconsin is a special case because of the large, lengthy protests over the public-unions law. But after big wins nationally by Democrats in 2006 and 2008, followed by a big Republican resurgence last year — and with big-time motivation for both sides heading into 2012 — I think we’re going to see a host of these super-close races next year.

Let’s just go ahead and call it Election 2012-13.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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64 comments Add your comment

sp

April 6th, 2011
10:42 am

TGT

April 6th, 2011
11:48 am

With only 3 precincts left to report (out of over 3600), Kloppenburg (favored by liberals) leads by about 200 votes.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2011/by_county/WI_Supreme_Court_0405.html?SITE=AP&SECTION=POLITICS

carlosgvv

April 6th, 2011
11:51 am

If the Republicans were to let the unions bargain, it would mean more money to the workers and less tax breaks to Big Business. This is why they are fighting against the unions.

wallbanger

April 6th, 2011
11:58 am

This is a really scary situation. When elected officials vote on a law, and if liberals don’t like it they throw tantrums, fits and carry on like fools and then take it to court, demand recounts, etc. our country is going in the crapper. Maybe conservatives should adopt the same crazy approach, picket like crazy, make threats, etc. Oh wait, we are all too busy working and paying our taxes.

Linda

April 6th, 2011
11:58 am

Why is it that Democrats believe that a woman has the right to choose, to murder her unborn baby, but that a woman does not have the right to choose, not to join a union to be able to work in a particular job in a particular state?

Why is it that Democrats believe that state workers have more rights than federal workers?

Kyle Wingfield

April 6th, 2011
11:58 am

TGT: Was just about to post an update, but your 11:48 will suffice. Everything I wrote about a recount and litigation still stands since, no matter who ends up slightly ahead, we are probably talking about a margin of a couple of hundredths of 1 percent.

wallbanger

April 6th, 2011
11:59 am

I have no doubt the judgeship will go to the liberal candidate because the union is spending a fortune to make it so. So long as our population can be lied to and bought, the liberals have it all over us. Democracy is in trouble when people campaign using taxpayer money.

TGT

April 6th, 2011
12:04 pm

Kyle: Agreed. BTW, I caught you on the Al Gainey show this morning. Nice job.

Kyle Wingfield

April 6th, 2011
12:08 pm

stands for decibels

April 6th, 2011
12:13 pm

Looks like just two precincts not yet reported, both are in Milwaukee, if I read that AP chart right.

I would assume there are still absentee ballots en route as well.

stands for decibels

April 6th, 2011
12:27 pm

whoops, in my post @ 12.13, I missed the Jefferson county precinct as well as the two in Milwaukee.

Might be a wash, since the former seems to favor the incumbent, the latter two, the challenger.

Moderate Line

April 6th, 2011
12:36 pm

wallbanger

April 6th, 2011
11:59 am
I have no doubt the judgeship will go to the liberal candidate because the union is spending a fortune to make it so. So long as our population can be lied to and bought, the liberals have it all over us. Democracy is in trouble when people campaign using taxpayer money.
++++
Typically, unions get money from union members not taxpayers. Would we say that UAW money is Ford or GM money. No. However, that is not diminish the point that unions are lobbying the government to obtain favorable legislation for their members. However, that is exactly what every lobbyist does for their client.

Also, it must be noted that it is the right which typically fights to limited control of campaign fiance reform.

Moderate Line

April 6th, 2011
12:45 pm

I have found a good website concerning caimpaign donations.
Of the top 20 donators only 2 favor Republicans. Unions dominate the list. Also, not how government contractors and financial companies are big players.

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php?order=A

Dan

April 6th, 2011
1:03 pm

wallbanger

April 6th, 2011
11:58 am

This is a really scary situation. When elected officials vote on a law, and if liberals don’t like it they throw tantrums, fits and carry on like fools and then take it to court, demand recounts, etc. our country is going in the crapper. Maybe conservatives should adopt the same crazy approach, picket like crazy, make threats, etc. Oh wait, we are all too busy working and paying our taxes.

They already have. It’s called the Tea Party.

Harold George

April 6th, 2011
1:08 pm

wallbanger I guess you have some patent on working and paying taxes. You probably have one on being a real American too, huh.

Joanie

April 6th, 2011
1:10 pm

Of course he does Harold. Didn’t you know that only wingnuts can lay claim to those things?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 6th, 2011
1:22 pm

Good afternoon, all. Ultimately Wisconsin’s looming bankruptcy is a good thing for conservative states, isn’t it? So what it a republican legislature tried to save the state. The leftists may not want to be saved.

John

April 6th, 2011
1:24 pm

wallbanger

“This is a really scary situation. When elected officials vote on a law, and if liberals don’t like it they throw tantrums, fits and carry on like fools and then take it to court, demand recounts, etc. our country is going in the crapper. Maybe conservatives should adopt the same crazy approach, picket like crazy, make threats, etc. Oh wait, we are all too busy working and paying our taxes.”

You mean like Bush being selected President by the US Supreme Court.

John

April 6th, 2011
1:29 pm

Ragnar Danneskjöld,

How are they trying to save the state from bankruptcy, by taking away from the working class and giving more away to the wealthy and businesses. Same thing tried here in GA until they were embarrassed when the truth came out how it would raise taxes on some and lower taxes on the wealthy.

John

April 6th, 2011
1:32 pm

Maybe some are finally waking up. Glenn Beck is leaving Fox News. As reported by the AP…Lately his viewership has declined. He had faced an advertiser boycott that limited the amount of companies that wanted to be a part of his show after saying President Barack Obama had a “deep-seated hatred for white people.”

John

April 6th, 2011
1:37 pm

From twincities.com…

In another race that became largely about Walker and his policies, Democrat Chris Abele defeated Republican state Rep. Jeff Stone to become Milwaukee County executive, the seat Walker held until he was elected governor in November.

Stone voted twice for Walker’s bill taking away nearly all of most state workers’ collective bargaining rights from, which put him on the defensive in the race. Abele won with 61 percent of the vote compared with 39 percent for Stone, based on unofficial results.

Joanie

April 6th, 2011
1:49 pm

Glenn Beck should do the human race a favor and leave the planet.

Linda

April 6th, 2011
2:33 pm

Taxpayers (mostly private sector workers) pay taxes to the state government.
The state government pays taxpayers’ taxes/wages & benefits to public sector union members.
The union members pay taxpayers’ taxes/wages/union dues to the unions (except when the state government deducts them & sends the unions a check).
The unions pay taxpayers’ taxes/wages/union dues/campaign donations back to the state government Democratic lawmakers along with advertising & services such as rent-a-mob.
When it’s time to collective bargain, the Democratic lawmakers & unions sit on the same side of the table, real close like. It’s legal collusion with taxpayer money.
The union members vote for their Democratic bosses. They teach the taxpayers’ children such subjects such as the History of the Public Sector Unions & take them on field trips to the state capital as needed.

John

April 6th, 2011
2:49 pm

Consumers (both private and public sector workers) buy products from companies.
The companies pay consumers wages to wealthy executives.
The wealthy executives pay consumers’ wages Republican lawmakers along with advertising & services such as rent-a-mob.
When it’s time for payback, the Republican lawmakers & corporations sit on the same side of the table, real close like. It’s legal collusion with consumers’ money.
The wealthy executives vote for their Republican bosses (actually, the wealthy executives are the Republicans’ bosses. They screw the taxpayers’ by cutting eduction and other services to the lower and middle class and give away those savings to the wealthy executives.

Left wing management

April 6th, 2011
2:50 pm

Linda 2:33: That’s quite a paranoid logic you’ve laid out there and I can see you’re clearly very troubled by all this. In any case I was struck by how, as you present it, the “taxpayers’ taxes/wages” never actually changes hands but simply remains frozen even after the 2nd or 3rd step in the cycle. In other words, in your view the taxpayer remains (or should remain) the owner of the funds long after its left his hands. Which suggests a very strange view of money. By definition, when money passes from one party to the next in a transaction, ownership of the money goes with it. Unless of course you’re boiling the whole process down to a mere patronage system, which is the height of cynicism because even as you’re decrying the corrupting influence of money you’re endorsing that same corruption by arguing that the originator of a transaction – here the taxpayer – should be bowed to at every point. But that is a mistake.

John

April 6th, 2011
2:58 pm

Linda,

To use your logic…that’s it’s taxpayer’s money and the taxpayer never transfers possession, then shouldn’t you go a step before. It’s the government that prints the money. So by your logic, it’s the government’s money…never becoming the taxpayer’s money.

John

April 6th, 2011
3:01 pm

So you see, Linda…the government is paying government workers salaries and benefits with government money, not taxpayer money.

Linda

April 6th, 2011
3:36 pm

John@2:49 & 2:58, Perhaps you are unaware of the difference between taxpayer money & consumer spending, between the requirement of paying taxes & the freedom to spend, between the public trust & free enterprise, between the public sector & the private sector, between employer-employee relationships & lawmaker-constituent relationships, etc.

Perhaps you can cite ONE instance in which Republican lawmakers rented buses full of mobs wearing matching tee shirts & carrying preprinted signs who were paid (including box lunches) to protest on the front porches & in the yards of private citizens or lawmakers, with battery-operated megaphones, while there were teenage children home alone.

Perhaps you could explain how any federal increases in education funding over the last twenty years has increased graduation rates, SAT & ACT scores, etc.

We, the people, OWN the government.

Mishap

April 6th, 2011
3:49 pm

Linda,
I’m pretty sure while Republican lawmakers don’t ship buses full of people, business funded interests(ie Koch) poured money into non-profits like Freedomworks that paid for busloads of Tea Party Protesters to show up everywhere w/ signs (homemade or not).

Not a fan of the unions myself but I’m not too foolhardy to think corporations are powerless in this game.

Linda

April 6th, 2011
3:57 pm

left@2:50, The state government is the people’s government. Our tax money paid to the state is still our money, not the property of the state lawmakers. State workers at all levels work for the taxpayers. That is why they are called public servants. The services rendered by state employees are subject to the best interests of the taxpayers. The wages earned by state employees is their money. They should be free to use it as they please, but that is not the case. They are required to pay union dues as a condition of employment, but they don’t. The unions are being paid with taxpayer money directly by the state govt. The new law in Wis. will require the unions to collect their dues from their members. The state will no longer be sending them checks.

John

April 6th, 2011
4:06 pm

Linda,

“Perhaps you can cite ONE instance in which Republican lawmakers rented buses full of mobs wearing matching tee shirts & carrying preprinted signs who were paid (including box lunches) to protest on the front porches & in the yards of private citizens or lawmakers, with battery-operated megaphones, while there were teenage children home alone.”

Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and all their tea party goons.

John

April 6th, 2011
4:08 pm

Linda,

“The state government is the people’s government. Our tax money paid to the state is still our money, not the property of the state lawmakers. ”

That means the state owns nothing, it’s all the taxpayers’ property. Hmmm…think I’m going to pack up and move into the governor’s mansion…after all, it’s mine.

Linda

April 6th, 2011
4:12 pm

Mishap@3:49, As a Tea Party member, I can tell you that our group, like most, has NO money. When we ride a bus, we pay. The only time we’ve used buses was to go to a big rally downtown Atlanta. I’m aware that there are groups who donate portable potties & megaphones for mass rallies.
The Tea Party is just about as grassroots as you can get. It started with the economic stimulus bill & here we are today borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we are spending, printing money out of thin air, causing massive inflation & our govt. about to shut down because of a split (showdown) in ideology.

Linda

April 6th, 2011
4:15 pm

John@4:08, I can’t help you. You are probably too old to start first grade all over again & I don’t have the patience to home school a child I did not bear or adopt.

John

April 6th, 2011
4:15 pm

Linda,

What don’t you get…we pay taxes for goods and services provided by the government. As consumers, we pay companies for the goods and services they provide. Using your argument, as a consumer, when I buy a product, I own the company that sold it to me.

When I pay my taxes, that money is no longer mine…don’t you get that?

Dan

April 6th, 2011
4:19 pm

Is it true that Tea Party rallies offer 2 for 1 tattoos and free drinks at Mulligan’s Pub?

Moderate Line

April 6th, 2011
4:29 pm

John

April 6th, 2011
4:15 pm
Linda,

What don’t you get…we pay taxes for goods and services provided by the government. As consumers, we pay companies for the goods and services they provide. Using your argument, as a consumer, when I buy a product, I own the company that sold it to me.

When I pay my taxes, that money is no longer mine…don’t you get that?
++++
You don’t pay taxes for services except when you pay fees. You pay taxes because the government forces you to pay taxes.

Cooperatives i.e. coopertives and credit unions,are companies in which you own and you pay for services.

Get Real

April 6th, 2011
4:37 pm

John….seek medical assistance quickly

Linda

April 6th, 2011
4:39 pm

John@4:15, You would fit right in with the Democrats in DC. Have you ever considered running for office? A huge majority of the DC bunch think the taxes we send to the federal government belongs to them. They also think that it is their job to spend every last penny of them plus several trillion dollars a year more than they take in.
If you rent an apt. & write a check for a security deposit or make an offer on a house & write a check for the earnest money, you check does not go into the company’s operating acct. It must, by law, go into a separate security deposit or escrow acct. The company you are dealing with can not comingle your funds with theirs. It’s your money, not theirs, until which time you move out of the apt. or close on the house. Your money is held by the company in a trust acct.
Our tax dollars are held in trust & allocated as our representatives we elect deem to be in our best interests.
The govt. is not Kroger or Walmart.
You don’t own a company just because you shop there. You own a piece of it if you buy a piece of it in the form of stock.

John

April 6th, 2011
4:42 pm

Linda,

“The wages earned by state employees is their money. They should be free to use it as they please, but that is not the case. They are required to pay union dues as a condition of employment, but they don’t. The unions are being paid with taxpayer money directly by the state govt.”

It’s being paid from their wages, which as you stated is their money. It’s not taxpayer money. It’s being deducted from their paycheck. They earned it. Just as a company deduction insurance premiums from employers paychecks and turns around and pays the insurance company a single check. The premiums deducted from an employee’s paycheck is the employee’s money…not the company’s.

John

April 6th, 2011
4:46 pm

Moderate Line

“You don’t pay taxes for services except when you pay fees. You pay taxes because the government forces you to pay taxes. ”

Police, fire, garbage collection, education, etc. these are all services paid for with taxes.

Linda

April 6th, 2011
4:46 pm

John@4:15, Assuming you work for a living & pay taxes, have you ever overpaid your taxes & tried to get a refund? Has the state or fed. govt. ever said, “Sorry, John, old boy, but ‘when you pay your taxes that money is no longer yours…don’t you get that?’”

Dan

April 6th, 2011
4:50 pm

Anybody that has ever been to Texas and driven on their streets and highways knows what you get when you don’t pay taxes.

Gary

April 6th, 2011
4:51 pm

see it all the time in miami. Truck pulls up with pre printed signs. Folks walk over pick up th signs, chant for a hour or two during the busy sidewalk hours downtown then give the signs back to the truck get their cash and walk away. Unions are garbage.

John

April 6th, 2011
4:54 pm

Linda,

I never said it’s the Senators and Representatives money…it’s the government’s. Just as revenue for a business is not the executives money. it’s own by the business. And just as executives make decisions on how to spend corporate money, our elected officials make decisions on how to spend government money. Once I pay my taxes, that money is no longer mine…it’s the governments.

John

April 6th, 2011
4:56 pm

Linda,

Taxes are not help in funds to be repaid back when some event occurs. Once you pay your taxes, that money is the government’s…not yours.

John

April 6th, 2011
4:59 pm

Linda,

“Assuming you work for a living & pay taxes, have you ever overpaid your taxes & tried to get a refund? Has the state or fed. govt. ever said, “Sorry, John, old boy, but ‘when you pay your taxes that money is no longer yours…don’t you get that?’””

It’s called and overpayment…just as if I overpaid my credit card bill, the credit card company is required to pay me back any overpayment. The amount I paid, which is owed, is there’s not mine.

Linda

April 6th, 2011
4:59 pm

John@4:42, Taxes & health care premiuns are legitimate deductions from paychecks. Deducting union dues is like deducting money for a garnishment. Employees whose wages are garnished usually end up being fired for the same reason. Employers regard it as a hassle. Why should employers be debt collectors & state government be union dues collectors?

yuzeyurbrane

April 6th, 2011
5:05 pm

Sorry, Kyle, your rightwing buds lost. And incumbents never lose judicial races. The righteous indignation of the middleclass is finally boiling over, at least in states that have an educated population–yes, Kyle, as you know in your heart, that does not include Georgia. So Georgia’s rightwing politicians and their Deliverance banjo playing supporters are safe.

John

April 6th, 2011
5:08 pm

So now we go by what you think are legitimate deductions? What about employee deductions for health club memberships, charitable contributions, purchases offered through the company? Are these not being collectors for the health clubs and charities? Many employers offer them without thinking it as a hassle.