-By Robin Bravender
June 4, 2012- Brace yourself: Wisconsin Democrats say they are preparing for the event that the hotly contested recall race could drag on for weeks, or even longer.
Floating the prospect of a recount is, of course, a message that bolsters the party’s claims that the race is closer than people think and that it will go down to the wire — despite polls showing Walker with the lead.
Yet there’s reason a recount can’t be so easily dismissed.
Walker can’t seem to break his 50 percent ceiling of support among Wisconsin voters. His ballot support has hovered at either 50 percent or 49 percent in 12 of the 14 polls released since early May, and recent polls show the race tightening in the final stretch.
“We’re very much anticipating that there’s a chance that we could be in a recount scenario,” said Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. He said the party will have more than 440 lawyers in the field on Tuesday “doing election protection activities but also tasked with recount preparation, making sure that we know where absentee ballots are at, making sure that we have a strong handle on what’s happening out there.”
The deeply polarized Badger State also has fresh experience with an excruciatingly close race. JoAnne Kloppenburg requested a recount last spring after losing a Wisconsin State Supreme Court race to incumbent David Prosser by less than 0.5 percent. The recount had Prosser leading by about 7,004 votes in that race, which was seen as an early referendum on Walker’s efforts to curb collective bargaining rights.
Kloppenburg penned an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in the wake of the recount, saying the scrutiny uncovered “significant and widespread errors and anomalies” in the election process.
Naturally, Republicans are keeping mum on the prospect of a recount, preferring not to acknowledge the possibility when Walker leads in the polls.
Ben Sparks, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, declined to comment when asked whether the GOP is girding for such a scenario. And Walker told reporters on Monday that he’s not thinking about a recount at this point, Wisconsin radio station WTAQ reported.