Refusing to concede defeat, Wisconsin Supreme Court challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg asked election officials Wednesday for a statewide recount in her flagging upset bid against Justice David Prosser.
Final county tallies compiled last week showed Prosser held a 7,316-vote lead over the little-known state attorney. The margin is within one-half of 1 percent of the total votes cast, entitling Kloppenburg to a statewide recount at local governments' expense.
The Government Accountability Board confirmed in a statement Wednesday that it is moving forward with a statewide recount at Kloppenburg's request.
"We have been preparing for a recount since Election Night," Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel for GAB, said in the statement.
Kennedy said the recount would likely begin next week, starting with a teleconference meeting for county clerks on Monday.
Prosser's campaign pressured her not to seek a recount, saying there was no way she would find 7,000 votes and a recount would be costly for taxpayers.
State elections officials said the recount could begin as early as next week, barring any court challenges.
Prosser's campaign has pressured Kloppenburg to give up, saying she can't make up 7,000-plus votes and local government workers across the state would spend hundreds of hours working on the recount, ringing up a huge tab for taxpayers. Prosser's attorney has promised to challenge any recount request.
Kloppenburg went into the campaign as a heavy underdog against Prosser, a 12-year court veteran and former GOP legislator. But she got a boost after her supporters and pro-labor forces redefined the race as a referendum against Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Walker's contentious collective bargaining law. They hoped a Kloppenburg win would tilt the court to the left and set the stage for the justices to strike down the law.
Turnout for the April 5 election shattered expectations. Initial returns showed Kloppenburg had defeated Prosser by about 200 votes. But the Waukesha County clerk then stepped forward and said she had failed to report 14,000 votes. Those votes flipped the race for Prosser.