Yesterday there was an election in Wisconsin for one of the state’s Supreme Court seats. Being an April election in an odd year, its normally not even a blip on the radar.
However, this year, the public sector unions have made it a national issue. They expect the new collective bargaining legislation to make it to the court, and started a massive campaign to mobilize their members to elect labor union loving liberal JoAnne Kloppenburg over the current Justice, David Prosser.
To give you an indication of how the turnout has increased for this one, yesterday there were almost 1.5 million votes cast. Last November’s Senate race had 2.1 million votes.
So, it sounds like the unions were successful in mobilizing all those extra people to come out to the polls, and strike a blow against Scott Walker and his “extreme” new budget and CB restrictions, right? Prosser should be getting killed with all that union mobilization out to unseat him, right?
In a race still too close to call, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg took a paper-thin lead over Justice David Prosser in the state Supreme Court race early Wednesday, capping a race marked by massive voter turnout, Gov. Scott Walker’s union bargaining plan, and record spending by outside interest groups.
As of 10:40 a.m., the Associated Press had results for all but 3 of the state’s 3,630 precincts and Kloppenburg had taken a 224 vote lead after Prosser had been ahead most of the night by less than 1,000 votes.
This race is 50/50.
I don’t think the unions were expecting this. This is a state where close to 100,000 people, mostly union members, converged on the capital to protest the curbs on collective bargaining for public employees. The conventional wisdom was that non-union households wouldn’t care much about this issue and would stay home, allowing the union members to overwhelm the vote.
That didn’t happen. Hundreds of thousands also came out to support Governor Walkers position. True, this election was not technically about the bill Walker signed, but everyone knows it was really a referendum on the issue, and not about the Supreme Court race at all.
Let’s compare this to Ohio’s probable referendum vote on Senate Bill 5. First, Wisconsin is arguably more liberal and more union friendly than Ohio.
Second, look at the number of people the unions were able to mobilize to protest in the state capitols. Close to 100,000 pro-union people massed in Madison to protest the new legislation there. Yet, when put to a public referendum, they only got 50% support.
Now look at Ohio. The largest pro-union crowd to assemble in Columbus was 12,000 people. Also, remember that Ohio’s population is twice that of Wisconsin’s. Based on those numbers, the pro-union fervor in Ohio isn’t even close to that in Wisconsin.
So, in Ohio, the unions need to get to the same 50% that they did in bluer, friendlier to unions Wisconsin, where the “protest rate” per capita was 16 times higher than here?
If Chris Redfern and Ohio’s public-sector unions think a November referendum on Senate Bill 5 will be a slam dunk, they might want to look at yesterday’s results in Wisconsin, and think again.