Wisconsin voters reject Walker-linked candidate

Riding the wave of anti-Scott Walker sentiment, political newcomer, Democrat Chris Abele handily beat his Republican opponent for Milwaukee County Executive April 5, the position held by Walker before elected governor.

Abele won 61% of the vote beating state Rep. Jeff Stone who garnered 39%, according to the unofficial vote count.

Abele financed his own campaign as he comes from a wealthy Boston-based family. He is described as a philanthropist and political neophyte by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Abele tied his opponent Stone to the unpopular policies of Gov. Walker.

Walker, who has ties to the multi-billionaire oil tycoons Koch Bros., declared war on unions and working people with his so-called budget repair bill. People responded with massive demonstrations and an occupation of the state Capitol for weeks.

The bill contained language that stripped away union rights for public employees – from teachers to snowplow drivers. Fourteen Democratic state senators left Wisconsin to prevent quorum thereby halting the budget bill process.

In a high-handed and legally controversial manner, Republicans stripped the union-busting language from the budget bill and passed the anti-worker bill on its own.

Since then, the law has been in the courts and currently stayed by court order.

That put the spotlight on another hotly contested race: the state Supreme Court.

Labor-backed Assistant Attorney Joanne Kloppenberg is currently ahead by a mere 235 votes over incumbent and Walker-backed Justice David Prosser.

Kloppenberg was a virtual unknown before the anti-Walker uprising put the race into question. Wisconsin political analysts say it is almost impossible to unseat a sitting judge in an election, yet Wisconsin voters seem to be poised to do that impossibility.

The race is headed for a recount.

UPDATE: Abou 2:30 p.m. central, Associated Press announced Kloppenburg the winner. “With all 3,630 precincts reporting, Kloppenburg received 740,090 votes, while Prosser received 739, 886,” the AP reports.  The deadline to request a recount would be no later than April 20.

Photo: One of many leaflets and signs that hung in the state Capitol expressing people’s sentiment towards Republican Gov. Scott Walker. (Teresa Albano/PW)




Teresa Albano
Teresa Albano

Teresa Albano was the first woman editor-in-chief of People’s World, 2003-2010, leading the transition from weekly print to daily online publishing and establishing PW’s social media presence. Albano has been a staff writer for People’s World covering political, labor and social justice issues for more than 25 years. She traveled throughout the U.S. and abroad, including India, Cuba, Angola, Italy, and to Paris to cover the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. An award-winning journalist, Albano has been honored for her writing by International Labor Communications Association, National Federation of Press Women and Illinois Woman Press Association.