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WIth the Waukesha County Clerk, Democrat** Kathy Nickolaus reporting on Thursday “that she failed to save in her computer and then report 14,315 votes in the city of Brookfield, omitting them entirely in an unofficial tally released after Tuesday’s election,” Republican David Prosser surged to an almost insurmountable lead in the race for chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
As I blogged* yesterday, I had expected a loss in this race. Democrats and their allies on the left seemed more organized and energized. They were hoping to use any means necessary to undo Governor Walker’s reforms. They wanted Republicans to pay a cost for pushing conservative reforms. A victory for JoAnne Kloppenburg would remind Republicans that they still hadn’t convinced the people, at least in Wisconsin, of the merits of their ideas — and that they need to constantly be playing offense because politics is a livelihood for many on the left, particularly those whose livelihood depends on taxpayer largesse.
But, even with Democrats fired up and their union allies digging dip into their coffers to elect Kloppenburg, the Republican pulled out a modest victory in this light blue state. It seems that the 2010 elections were not an aberration, but perhaps part of a trend.
That said, Michael Barone contends, “This result was closer than it should be.” Republican shouldn’t rest on their laurels and must realize that we need be better organized if we’re going avoid such close calls in the future as we build upon our gains and elect candidates serious about cutting the size of government and reducing its scope.
To those ready to label a Kloppenburg victory as a warning of the cost to Republicans of pushing bold reforms like those Walker advocated have lost a now lost a key talking point. So, expect them to change their tune as per Mary Katharine Ham’s tweet, “Small, state-wide election with vital national implications soon to have no national implications whatsoever.” (Via HotAir via Instapundit.)
With a likely Prosser victory, it seems that real, responsible conservative reforms do not destroy a political party.
*ADDENDUM: In the comment section to that post, Cas makes a valid point: “I hope that they have a very transparent review process to ensure that everything is above board.” He’s right. Election officials in Waukesha county should allow both parties to review polling data to make sure the number of ballots tabulated correspond with the number of ballots cast, etc.
UPDATE: “Big Labor,” Jennifer Rubin quips, “couldn’t win an off-year election on a make-or-break issue? It really is in trouble.”
**UP-UPDATE: Apparently, she’s not a Democrat. In the Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary, available by subscription, John Fund finds:
If the mistake was innocent, it resulted from a lack of transparency. Ms. Nickolaus has long been criticized for keeping her county’s election data on private office computers that are not part of the county network. But of equal concern is her decision to no longer report the individual breakdown of results from cities in her county on her office’s website. If she had, everyone could have seen that the city of Brookfield was listed as reporting that no votes had been cast. In addition, Ms. Nickolaus’s office never reported what percentage of the county’s vote had been counted at any point on election night.
Perhaps the best thing to do would be for Waukesha County to recount its ballots for this contest and for Mr. Nickolaus to recuse herself from the count.
**FROM THE COMMENTS: FR corrects an error in the post:
GP- just to keep our side of the street tidy:
County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus is a Republican.
Her explanation of what happened was confirmed by Ramona Kitzinger, the vice chair of Waukesha County Democrat party.