We had quite an election in Wisconsin on Tuesday.
The turnout was enormous for a spring election, and all eyes were on the state supreme court race, which pitted the incumbent justice, conservative David Prosser, who is closely allied with Governor Walker, against JoAnne Kloppenburg, an old friend and neighbor of mine. She is a wise and kind person and an experienced assistant AG, but she had no name recognition going in.
Amazingly, the race was neck and neck all night long and even as I speak the eventual winner is unclear and it seems all but certain that there will be a recount.
But make no mistake: This was a referendum on Walker's assault on working people. Kloppenburg's showing ought to give all the protesters in Wisconsin a huge shot in the arm. Were it not for their activism, Prosser would have slept comfortably in his black robe on Election Night.
Kloppenburg was also helped by a competitive race in Madison for mayor between two liberals: incumbent mayor Dave Cieslewicz and legendary mayor Paul Soglin, who lost to Cieslewicz eight years ago. Theirs was a contrast in styles: Cieslewicz is more laid back, and has a wonderful, self-deprecating sense of humor; Soglin is more intense, less modest, but with tremendous passion for fighting poverty and running city government. And while Cieslewicz responded swiftly to Walker's assault on public workers, and while the mayor skillfully renewed the union contracts before Walker's bill could take effect, many in Madison may have felt that they needed someone more aggressive -- even more irascible -- than Mayor Dave to take on Walker, the Fitzgeralds, and the Koch brothers. The intense face-off between Cieslewicz and Soglin helped the turnout in Madison swell to 54 percent.
Walker should beware. Kloppenburg got a total of some 738,000 votes in the state. And it only takes 540,000 signatures on a petition to recall Walker.
I'm sure Walker and his supporters can do the math.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Walker and Cronies Are Lawless Bastards!."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.