Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is vowing to Newsmax readers that organized labor will not steal back the dramatic come-from-behind victory of Supreme Court Justice David Prosser even if unions end up paying for a recount.
On Friday, Gov. Walker visited Newsmax and its CEO, Christopher Ruddy, at the company's West Palm Beach, Fla. headquarters. In his exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV — part of a national tour to drum up national support for his dramatic fight against public unions who are seeking recall elections of Walker allies in the Wisconsin legislature — the Republican governor says there is no way any legitimate recount would result in a victory for Prosser's liberal opponent.
But that doesn't remove the threat. Under Wisconsin law organized labor can get a recount if they're willing to pay for it. Walker says unions hope to replicate in Wisconsin “what was pulled off with Senator [Al] Franken in Minnesota." He promises, though, that Republicans will be on guard against any post-election ballot shenanigans.
Walker is referring to Democrat Al Franken’s upset win over GOP incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman in 2008, which saw a Coleman lead on Election Night morph into a Franken victory during a drawn-out recount battle.
Walker’s concern over the integrity of Wisconsin’s spring elections came in the context of Justice Prosser’s battle for re-election over liberal challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.
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The unions poured millions of dollars into the race because a victory would give liberal jurists a 4-3 majority in the state Supreme Court. The race also was seen as a national test of whether standing up to the unions could be too costly on Election Day. The contest became a political battle royal and set a record for outside television expenditures by third-party groups.
After Tuesdays election, Kloppenburg appeared to be clinging to a paper-thin 204-vote margin out of 1.5 million votes cast.
But on Thursday, officials conducting a routine canvass discovered that 14,000 votes cast in heavily Republican Waukesha County were inadvertently omitted from the vote totals that were submitted to state election officials.
When those votes from the conservative stronghold were counted, Prosser shot out to a 7,500-vote lead.
Walker tells Newsmax that Prosser’s lead is well above the number needed to avoid the automatic statewide recount that Democrats are seeking. But he added state law allows them to request a recount as long as they’re willing to underwrite the cost.
“That will be pretty costly,” Walker says. “But I think it’s pretty clear that the big government labor-union bosses that have been fighting the reforms in Wisconsin now for the past month and a half, I don’t think they’re going to give up.
I think they’re going to throw out everything here, and hope somehow they can pull of what was pulled off with Senator Franken in Minnesota.”
Walker assured Newsmax that Republicans would be “looking very closely” to ensure that does not happen. The key, he said, is to ensure all valid ballots are counted and that no additional ballots are added in.
“And as long as somebody’s not trying to bring in new ballots, I think we’re not going to have what we saw in Minnesota,” Walker told Newsmax.
Walker’s interview and visit to Newsmax headquarters came during a nationwide tour to drum up support for a new effort, FrontlineWisconsin.com, that seeks to defend eight Wisconsin GOP senators from a massive recall campaign that is now under way.
Walker, who has pledged to bring 250,000 jobs to his state, told Newsmax: “What I’ve been doing is going around the country and making the case, given my position in Wisconsin, reaching out to folks across the country to say ’Help us out.’
“The grass roots need to stand up and say, ’We’re the ones defending the middle class. We’re the ones defending the middle class taxpayers of this country who for decades have paid for the expanse of the ever-growing size of state, local, or federal government.’”
The site accepts donations for the resources they need to fight the orchestrated effort to drive them from office.
Other highlights from Walker’s Newsmax interview:
- He said “it is clear” that Republicans followed the state’s open meetings law in passing his Budget Repair Act. Walker’s administration has asked the state supreme court, which Prosser sits on, to throw out a lawsuit that was filed to block implementation of the bill.
- The recall elections are expected to be held in “June or July of this year.” He predicts at least three Democrats will face recall elections as well.
- In his recent tour of Wisconsin businesses, he has met many private-sector workers who are paying between 20 to 50 percent of their own healthcare premiums. He is asking state workers to pay 12.5 percent. Also, most private-sector workers “would love to have a retirement plan, let alone a pension.” He is asking state workers to contribute 5.8 percent to their pension-plan benefits.
- He hasn’t considered a possible presidential or vice presidential run, but he extols GOP Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. “Anybody from Wisconsin, Paul Ryan would be a great pick. I think he is one of the most politically courageous people I know.”
- What people want most in a time of crisis is leadership, Walker says. He wishes President Barack Obama would spend as much time addressing the federal deficit “as he is poking his nose into political battles in states like Wisconsin.”
- Union dues are at the heart of the conflict in Wisconsin, he says. “It’s about the union bosses wanting to get their hands on automatic union dues that come directly out of the paychecks,” Walker tells Newsmax.
Adds Walker: “We’re giving people, the workers in our state, the right to choose whether they want to be in the public-employees union, and whether or not they want up to $1,000 a year to come out of their paycheck, or whether they want to better spend that on their families, their healthcare, and other things in their life. That’s what really is at the heart of it.
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