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Wisconsin incumbent judge Prosser clings to lead in vote

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MADISON, Wis (Reuters) – A routine election for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat that became a referendum on the state’s new curbs on unionized public employees appeared too close to call early on Wednesday with the incumbent clinging to a narrow lead.

With 98 percent of the state’s precincts reporting and more than 1.44 million votes counted, incumbent Justice David Prosser, who was backed byRepublicans, held onto a narrow lead over JoAnne Kloppenburg, a candidate backed by Democrats and organized labor, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinelnewspaper and WTMJ-TV.

As of 12:41 a.m. Central time, Prosser had garnered 727,208 of the votes cast while Kloppenburg had tallied 725,205.

Officials in Eau Claire, Wisconsin were hand-counting ballots into the night, according to the websiteWisPolitics.com, which also reported that a number of absentee votes still needed to be counted.

If Prosser, a longtime Wisconsin judge and former Republican legislator, holds onto his lead, it will keep the state high court’s 4-3 conservative majority intact.

A Prosser victory would be a setback for Democrats, who channeled their anger about the union restrictions into the Supreme Court election campaign as a proxy vote on Walker’s policies.

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The race was the first statewide contest since Republicans approved controversial restrictions on the union rights of Wisconsin’s public workers last month.

It took on extra importance when opponents of the anti-union measure sued to have the restrictions overturned, a legal challenge that is likely to eventually be heard by the state Supreme Court.

Walker has defended the union restrictions, which eliminate most bargaining rights for public sector workers and require them to pay more for benefits, as a needed fiscal reform to help the state close a budget gap.

Critics saw the bill, which eliminates automatic deduction of union dues, as a Republican attack on the single biggest source of funding for the Democratic Party.

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Wisconsin became a focal point of a national debate over labor relations, with massive protests at the state capital and a protracted battle in the state legislature. Several states are considering proposals similar to Wisconsin and union supporters fear the laws curbing collective bargaining could spread across the country.

Under Wisconsin law, election recounts are not automatic no matter how close the race. Candidates must request a recount and the cost is free provided the vote difference is less than one half of 1 percent. For margins greater than that candidates have to pay part or all of the costs, according to Wispolitics.

(Writing by James Kelleher; Editing by Greg McCune)

Source: Reuters US Online Report Domestic News

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Dear NeverTrumpers: Please quit lecturing actual Democrats about how to win

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As I write this, we are just hours away from the first debate of the presidential primary season. It's hard to believe that four years have passed since the last round of primary debates. It feels like 40. But here we are, getting ready to embark on yet another presidential campaign featuring Donald Trump. Everyone on the planet has advice for the Democratic candidates about what they need to do to beat him. It may be the most annoying conversation in all of politics, and that's saying something.

The pundits are all dully blathering on about "lanes" again, extending the horse race metaphor to ridiculous lengths, as they did in the GOP primaries in 2016. So far they've declared the lanes to be "establishment," "insurgent," "youth," "black vote" and "working class." And yes, they are meaningless, since the person who wins the nomination will have to take up big parts of all these "lanes" and more. But it makes it easy for pundits and analysts to drone on endlessly about polling, despite the fact that there is very little chance this campaign will end up going the way they predict.

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Donald Trump Jr shamed for sucking up to his dad on Twitter: ‘Ivanka is still his favorite’

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President Donald Trump retweeted about a half dozen posts early Wednesday from his wife and children, but not one particularly approval-seeking tweet from his namesake son.

The president's namesake son hyped his father's promotion of the "American Dream" late Tuesday, but Trump didn't include that one among several others posted by Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Melania Trump, as well as another touting son-in-law Jared Kushner's Middle East peace plan.

"For the last 50 years our biggest net export has been The American Dream, but because of @realDonaldTrump we’ve brought that American Dream home, where it belongs," tweeted Donald Trump Jr. "He’s doing this for you, your children, and for your grandchildren. Let’s Keep America Great! #2020"

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Reporting team that busted Trump’s tax secrets crumbles — thanks to ‘wrecking ball’ NYT journalist

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In October 2018, The New York Times published a landmark story on how President Donald Trump and his siblings committed large-scale tax fraud in the 1990s to maximize their inheritance.

Even for a story about Trump, who is seemingly invulnerable to financial scandal, it was hugely consequential — among other things, it led to Trump's sister resigning as a federal judge — and the reporters won a Pulitzer Prize for their efforts.

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