Talking Points Memo: WI GOP Senator: Supreme Court Race ‘Took The Wind Out’ Of Union Sails

April 12, 2011- Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told a gaggle of bloggers at the Heritage Foundation Tuesday that the controversial results of the state Supreme Court race in the Badger State surprised him, and indicate that Wisconsin isn't as pro-union as the thousands who gathered in and around the state capitol in Madison during the collective bargaining fight might want to think.

He also said that the battle between pro and anti-collective bargaining sides during the budget fight last month was much uglier than has been reported, with unknown leftist "thuggery" leading many state legislators to be "intimidated."

Johnson, who replaced Sen. Russ Feingold (D) in the Senate in the Republican sweep of the Wisconsin ballot in 2010, said that the apparent defeat of liberal Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenberg will significantly slow the roll of unions as they attempt to stop Republicans across the country from passing laws they don't like.

"I was pretty depressed," Johnson said, describing his mood on April 6 morning when it looked like Kloppenberg had won by the slimmest of margins.

"That was depressing," he told the audience at the Heritage Foundation. "The signal that that would have sent, the amount of energy that would have provided to public sector unions, the bosses and just to the electorate in general i think would have been terrible for the nation, truthfully."

But the later news that Prosser was ahead by several thousand votes sucked that newfound labor energy right out the door, Johnson said.

But while Prosser is indeed ahead in the vote count, the results of the race have yet to be certified. The state is still completing its canvass, while continuing to investigate the much-reported counting error in Waukesha county. Johnson though, isn't waiting to declare a victor.


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