Though this place may not exactly reflect the truism, the election cycle never really stops. Yesterday saw the last date candidates could file for the spring non-partisan election, headlined (at least on paper) by the state Supreme Court seat currently held by Justice Annette Ziegler and the state superintendent of public instruction seat currently held by Tony Evers, as well as the release of most of the counties’ reimbursement requests for conducting the Presidential recount.
First, the shocking and surprising item. The Jill Stein campaign will almost certainly have spent significantly less than originally billed for her total net 66 vote gain (and 778 net vote loss vice winner/President-elect Donald Trump). With final reimbursement requests from 69 of 72 counties and a preliminary request from a 70th (Milwaukee), those 70 counties spent a total of $1,533,488.25 on the recount, a mere 51.6% of their estimates of $2,992,849.31. If Brown and Kenosha Counties spent a similar percentage of their original $368,757 estimates, the counties/municipalities portion of the bill will come to just a tick over $2 million.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission has yet to produce its costs, but I somehow doubt that it will be anywhere close to $1.5 million. This may be a Flashing VCR Correct moment (more rare than the Stopped Clock Right moment), but you do have to love efficient, accurate government. If only the DOT would take a lesson from this and not do expensive stuff like putting in a 300-foot dedicated right-turn lane to service a half-dozen residences.
Next, the shocking-but-shouldn’t-have-surprised-anyone moment. Justice Annette Ziegler will be unopposed on the ballot. It’s shocking in that the last person to run unopposed was the late Justice Patrick Crooks in 2006, with 7 contested elections, the last 6 with sitting Justices (though the last was essentially an open seat) in the interim. It shouldn’t have been surprising because 5 of those sitting Justices won re-election, with Justice Michael Gableman’s defeat of then-Justice Louis Butler in 2008 being the only defeat of a sitting Justice since 1967.
Another item in the “shouldn’t have been surprising” bin – JR Ross notes Justice Ann Walsh Bradley was unopposed in 2005.
Meanwhile, Evers (WEAC-WEAC) drew a former Beloit superindent Lowell Holtz and Walker recall signer John Humphries to force a February 21 primary.