Op-Ed by Eugene Kane
April 9, 2011- Yes, it was a pretty amazing election day.
No, I'm not totally sure what happened.
Apparently, lots of readers felt the same way.
"I can't believe they're trying this!" is what one Milwaukee man on my social network said last Thursday, just hours after news about 14,000 uncounted votes were suddenly "found" in Waukesha County.
"How come they didn't count those votes last night?"
A Milwaukee woman posted a comment immediately echoed by several others.
"Something is not right here," she said.
They were reacting to reports that the race between Supreme Court Justice David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg had just been thrown into a tizzy by the shocking announcement that somehow the City of Brookfield's voting totals didn't get counted by the Waukesha County clerk. Kloppenburg, who had actually claimed victory by that point, had been the leader until the new votes were discovered.
Suddenly, Prosser led by 7,500 votes. Frankly, it was hard for some to swallow.
Another poster raised a valid "what if?" comparison: "What would the GOP say if Prosser was ahead and the next day Dane County said they didn't count 20,000 votes?"
This Facebook friend compared the latest developments with another infamous election day controversy in 2000: "Wisconsin's version of Bush vs. Gore . . . "
Yes, it was that kind of election.
Most of us went to bed Tuesday night aware voters had elected Milwaukee philanthropist Chris Abele as the new Milwaukee County executive. That might have been surprising to some, given Abele's lack of government experience and well-documented difficulties showing up for court appearances. But others suspected local opposition to Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining measure would tilt the vote in Abele's favor, regardless.
Abele might be just another rich guy with little in common with many Milwaukee County voters but he wasn't state Rep. Jeff Stone, the Greendale Republican who had the unfortunate fate of being linked to Walker in the eyes of many.
Since winning the governor's race last November, Walker has become arguably the most polarizing figure in southeastern Wisconsin. If you consider the size of Abele's victory Tuesday as a referendum on the governor's performance, it's hard to imagine Walker getting elected dogcatcher in Milwaukee County these days.