Madison, Wis. – State Rep. Brett Hulsey, a freshman Democrat from this city’s west side, was one of the most outspoken elected officials during the three-week occupation of the state capitol last month. He slept on the cold marble with protesters; he raised his fist and a bullhorn under the rotunda. On one memorable evening, he even commandeered Gov. Scott Walker’s press-conference podium minutes after the governor finished, in order to spout off in front of the assembled, still-warm Klieg lights.
A month later, Hulsey remains a local lefty star. This evening, he appeared at JoAnne Kloppenburg’s campaign rally, where he urged volunteers to organize behind the judicial candidate, who is challenging Justice David Prosser for a state supreme-court seat.
“[This election] is a way to send Governor Walker a message,” he said. “It is our first referendum . . . it is our first chance for the people to show up. Two months ago, no one had ever heard of JoAnne Kloppenburg. Today, she has got a real chance of winning.”
Turning to the hot issue of the race, Hulsey would not criticize the Greater Wisconsin Committee’s anti-Prosser ad, which claims that the justice, as a district attorney three decades ago, was an enabler of a pedophile priest. The ad has been debunked and the victims in the case have cut a pro-Prosser spot. “That is [Prosser’s] record as a prosecutor,” Hulsey shrugged. “That comes out of the newspapers.”
In fact, instead of decrying a misleading ad, Hulsey shifted from discussing Kloppenburg, who has also refused to denounce the ad, to blaming the Koch brothers. “Our supreme-court elections in Wisconsin have grown nastier with the big, corporate-polluter Koch money coming in these last few years,” he said. “[The anti-Prosser ad] is pretty much par for the course.”