When Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg emerged with a lead of 206 votes on the morning after the election a few weeks ago, she declared victory. After the canvass, however, she came in second to incumbent Justice David Prosser by more than 7,300 votes. On Wednesday, an hour before the deadline, she announced that she is seeking a recount of the returns. Here is what Kloppenburg had to say about her call for a recount:
An independent investigation needs to occur to get to the bottom of: What the [Waukesha County] clerk did there (when and why); the timing of her various statements and actions, including a one-and-a-half day delay in notifying any responsible party about a county vote total that she knew was incorrect; the absence of any reasonable basis for her explanations; the prior knowledge by conservative bloggers, contrasted with the complete absence of knowledge by the canvass board until the press conference — all of these raise significant questions about the clerk’s conduct and her handling of the public trust.
(Emphasis added.) What Kloppenburg describes as “prior knowledge by conservative bloggers” must be “What Althouse saw” — University of Wisconsin Law School Professor Ann Althouse — on election night:
UPDATE, 11:35: Concentrating on the AP numbers, looking at which counties still need to report, I’m irritated by the way Waukesha (strong for Prosser) and Dane (strong for Kloppenburg) seem to be holding out, like it’s a game of chicken. Right now the candidates are 50-50%, with Prosser up 6,000+. It’s been seesawing back and forth, with Kloppenburg up some of the time. To my eye, it looks as though there are more votes left to report in the places that are pro-Prosser, so I think in the end Prosser will squeak by.
UPDATE, 11:43: Dane (Madison’s county) is nearly all in. I don’t see how Kloppenburg can net more than about 3,000 with what’s left of Dane. Waukesha is now shown as completely in, but the numbers didn’t change, so I think something may have been misreported. I took the trouble to do a calculation and was going to predict that Prosser would net 40,000 more votes in Waukesha. What happened?
(Emphasis added.) Althouse was on to something. The returns from Brookfield had been trapped inside the laptop of Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, who reported 0 votes for the city. Nickolaus subsequently announced that she had failed to save on her computer and then report 14,315 votes in the city of Brookfield and omitted them in an unofficial total she released after Tuesday’s election. Justice Prosser gained 7,582 votes over Kloppenburg, enough to win the election narrowly, as Althouse had predicted through reading the returns on election night.
Kloppenburg now seems to portray Althouse’s contemporaneous reading of the reported election returns as “prior knowledge.” She intimates that something shady happened. Althouse herself leaves open the question whom Klopeenburg was referring to and what she was talking about. Althouse wrote Kloppenburg yesterday to ask her what she was talking about with respect to her accusation of “prior knowledge.” Of course, Althouse has received no response.
To say that Kloppenburg doesn’t know what she is talking would be too charitable, as one can observe in the video above edited by Althouse. Kloppenburg herself knows she is full of it. Her response to the question “do you believe you won?” gives new meaning to the term “pregnant pause.”
Kloppenburg not only was a candidate for high office, she holds a high office. She is an assistant attorney general in the state attorney general’s office. Her conduct shows that she is unfit for any public office, let alone a position on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse has more this morning. Via Ann, you will also want to catch Patrick McIlheran.
AND NOTE THIS: Reader John Simpson points out: “Joe Petrie and Mary Sink of the Brookfield Patch (A HuffPo affiliate, by the way) reported accurate results direct from Waukesha Election Night. So I reckon liberal bloggers are to blame as well.”