Voters turnout, Democrats make big gains

Compiled by Courier Staff

Chris Abele delivers his acceptance speech following Jeff Stone conceding the election to him for Milwaukee County Executive. Mayor Tom Barrett proudly looks on, who was an early supporter of Abele for the job. (Photo by Robert A. Bell)

Wisconsin voters turned out in higher than expected numbers, and Democrats made some significant gains in Tuesday’s election. Chris Abele, new to politics defeated state Rep. Jeff Stone for the remaining one year term of Milwaukee County Executive, Scott Walker’s position for the past eight years. Abele won with a 61 percent margin of the vote, Stone received 39 percent.

Stone, who is a Scott Walker supporter conceded relatively early in the evening, before the final numbers were in. Abele had maintained such a strong lead throughout the evening and the margin only widened as the night went on.

Other races that were closely watched for Milwaukee included the race for state Rep. Elizabeth Coggs’ former Milwaukee County Board seat in the 10th District. That race was narrowed down in February to two local men, Atty. Tearman Spencer and union official Evon Biddle who won the race. Biddle, like Abele will serve the last term of the office that remained, one year. The position will be back on the ballot next spring. Another Democrat that was victorious was Pedro Colón, who won a full six-year term to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Tuesday, beating Christopher Lipscomb, a lawyer and part-time Glendale municipal judge. Colon was appointed by Governor Jim Doyle to the bench to finish out a the Judicial Branch 18 term in September, 2010. Colon had served previously in the state legislature for 11 years. Colon defeated his opponent Christopher Lipscomb with 51 percent of the vote to 49 percent.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, along with Congresswoman Gwen Moore, State Senator Spencer Coggs, State Senator Lena Taylor and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett led a march last Saturday from King Drive to Arrow Park to encourage early voting. The purpose of the march organized by the Milwaukee NAACP themed, “March Fit For a King” was in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 43rd Assassination Anniversary was on April 4th. Hundreds of people participated in the march. Marchers waived signs reading, “This is what democracy looks like,” “Save our unions and collective bargaining,” and “Stop the attacks on public sector workers.” (Photo by Robert A. Bell).

The surprise of the night, a night that carried into the next day, and will most probably be contested was the race for State Supreme Justice. Incumbent Justice David Prosser found himself in an unexpected tight race for his re-election against Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg. Prosser had won the primary with ease, but after the fallout from Governor Walker, and the collective bargaining antics, voters spoke out a little differently.

Again, Wisconsin voters are making their voices heard, and more importantly they putting their votes where their mouths are. As we went to print, a late breaking update had been given regarding the Supreme Justice race.

With 100 percent of Wisconsin precincts reporting according to the Associated Press, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg has won Tuesday’s Supreme Court race.

The Associated Press tally shows Kloppenburg received 740,090 votes to 739,886 votes for the incumbent David Prosser, a margin of 204 votes.

“We owe Justice Prosser our gratitude for his more than 30 years of public service,” Kloppenburg said. “Wisconsin voters have spoken and I am grateful for, and humbled by, their confidence and trust. I will be independent and impartial and I will decide cases based on the facts and the law. As I have traveled the State, people tell me they believe partisan politics do not belong in our Courts. I look forward to bringing new blood to the Supreme Court and focusing my energy on the important work Wisconsin residents elect Supreme Court justices to do.”

State Senator Lena Taylor and State Senator Chris Larsen are filled with emotion following the Milwaukee County Executive race win for Chris Abele. (Photo by Robert A. Bell)

A recount is expected, and if it is, this will be the first recount in 20 years.

In addition to the Democrat gains from this election, the recall efforts are still in high gear. Voters are energized, and if this energy continues, and there is no reason for it not to, as the GOP continues with its agenda, more history is destined to be made in the coming months.