Who's Going to Win in Wisconsin?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 6 2011 9:19 AM

Who's Going to Win in Wisconsin?

Wouldn't you like to know? As of this morning, there are 835 votes separating David Prosser from JoAnne Kloppenburg, out of 1,472,921 votes counted in the race for Wisconsin's Supreme Court. Prosser's lead is 0.057 percent.

What's left to count? There are six outstanding precincts in Ashland, two in Crawford, one in Dane, two in Dunn, two in Milwaukee, and eight in Sauk -- all areas that have broken for Kloppenburg. There's one precinct each left to count in Jefferson and Taylor counties, which broke for Prosser. This is why no one has declared victory.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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At 1:12 a.m., Kloppenburg came out to meet a cheering crowd at the Edgewater Hotel in downtown Madison.

"It's not over and we are still hopeful," she said. "Let's get a good night's sleep and see what tomorrow brings."

At the Seven Seas Restaurant in Hartland, Prosser told a handful of supporters at 1:40 a.m., "There is little doubt there is going to be a recount in this race."

Of course, national interest in the race was all about the proxy war over Scott Walker. Democrats did not rout Republicans -- it's obvious that if late money hadn't come in to help Prosser, the Democrats would have won. But look at what's happened to the electorate in four months. Here is a map of the county results from November 2010, when Walker beat Democrat Tom Barrett.

Here's the map from last night.

In a race that only became a partisan fight in the last month, Democrats retook a lot of the ground they lost in 2010. The map they carved out looks a lot like the map of Wisconsin's 2004 presidential election results, where John Kerry narrowly defeated George W. Bush. Kloppenburg actually outpaced Kerry in many counties -- she would have had a clean win last night if she won Milwaukee County by as much as he did.

What does this mean for the next few months of politics? Well, look at Trempealeau, Vernon, LaCrosse, and Crawford counties . Those counties make up most of Dan Kapanke's district -- he's the first Republican senator who may be subject to a recall vote, after Democrats submitted petitions against him. They were blue in 2004, but LaCrosse and Vernon turned red for Walker. All of them voted for Kloppenburg last night -- she won Trempealeau by 8 points, Vernon by 10 points, and both Crawford and LaCrosse by 18 points.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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