Election night in Wisconsin, and the big story is not that Democrats won two of the six senate seats held by Republicans. Yes, that in itself is an amazing achievement. All the elections were held in historically Republican controlled counties, and throughout the 80 plus years recall elections were held in the state, only 20 have been successful. So to have two successes in one night is amazing.
But what’s even more amazing about the recall elections held last night was the results from a place in District 8 called Waukesha county and the behind-the-scenes workings of a particular county clerk in Waukesha called Kathy Nickolaus.
As the polls closed and results started coming in, Republicans breathed a collective sigh of relief when the first three counties stayed in their control – R. Cowles maintained his seat in district 2, S. Harsdorf kept the Republican seat in district 10 and L. Olsen kept Republicans in power in district 14.
By this time, hours after the polling closed, the remaining three races in the recall elections were led by the Democratic challengers. Keep in mind, that Democrats needed to win a total of three seats to regain control of the Senate and stop Scott Walker’s future corporate policies from being implemented.
The next election results showed that two seats would go to Democrats. J. Schelling in district 32 and J. King in district 18 both defeated the Republican incumbents. Then all eyes turned to district 8 where the Democratic challenger S. Pasch was leading the Republican 52% to 48%. This was the last race to be decided for the night, and things were looking good for the Democrat. But remember Waukesha county and the particular county clerk name Kathy Nickolaus? Waukesha county is in District 8, and at the time when the Democrat challenger Pasch was leading, only one of eleven precincts in Waukesha county had reported their results.
Why is Waukesha county so important in these elections?
Kathy Nickolous, the county clerk responsible for, among other things, maintaining the integrity and accuracy of the votes in the elections, is a Republican with questionable morals.
Remember the election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice a few months ago between Republican David Prosser and his Democratic challenger JoAnn Kloppenberg? In that election, Mrs. Kloppenberg was leading and predicted to be the winner. Then miraculously, after all votes were counted, Kathy Nickolous “found” an additional 12000 votes in her computer. Those additional votes were all that Prosser needed to move ahead. He was later declared the winner.
Which brings us back to last night’s election.
When the election in all the other districts were decided, Waukesha county still only had one precinct reporting a total of 600 votes, with a little over 400 going to the Republican, Mrs A. Darling. Television pundits began questioning why Kathy Nickolous was not reporting the other precincts. On the Ed Show on MSNBC, questions were being asked suggesting that another “Prosser” moment may be happening in Waukesha, and calls for a possible investigation into the county clerk were being echoed on different news networks.
Then suddenly, hours after the polls had closed, results from 9 precincts in Waukesha county came in – a total of 12,000 votes, putting the Republican in the lead 53% to 47%. When Kathy Nickolous reported the final precinct numbers, District 8 was called a win for the Republican.
Final results, A. Darling 54%, S. Pasch 48%.
Yes, an amazing night in Wisconsin indeed, but for all the wrong reasons.