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.
In an interview with National Review Online, Hulsey claimed that the Koch brothers are behind Prosser’s campaign. He also acknowledged that the race has become a proxy battle for progressives.
“[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.”
Hulsey predicts high turnout in Dane County, a must-watch area on Tuesday, since it is considered a liberal enclave. “In my area . . . we are seeing early voting at the same level as the Obama election three years ago,” he noted.
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.”