WAUKESHA, Wis. -- A stunning discovery of votes in Wisconsin could give the state's hotly contested Supreme Court race to the conservative incumbent in an election largely seen as a referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's explosive union rights law.
Adding another twist, the county clerk who said she incorrectly entered vote totals in the race has faced criticism before for her handling of elections and has worked for a state GOP caucus when it was controlled by the candidate who stands to benefit from Thursday's revelation.
The corrected totals gave Justice David Prosser a 7,500-vote lead over little-known liberal assistant state attorney general JoAnne Kloppenburg, according to unofficial tallies. Before the announcement, it was assumed the race was headed for a recount.
Opponents of the state law that takes away nearly all public employee collective bargaining rights had hoped a Kloppenburg victory would set the stage for the state's high court to strike it down.
Kloppenburg's campaign manager, Melissa Mulliken, demanded a full explanation of how the error occurred and said an open records request for all relevant documents would be filed. She also said Friday that the campaign has started raising money for a recount.
Prosser told Fox News Thursday that the race should not be considered a referendum on Walker or any legislation that may end up at the court. He said he is waiting out the process.
Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said it was "human error" that resulted in more than 14,000 votes from her predominantly GOP county not being reported to The Associated Press on Tuesday. She said the most significant error occurred when she entered but did not save totals from Brookfield, a suburb of Milwaukee.
"This is not a case of extra votes or extra ballots being found," she said. "This is human error, which I apologize for."
Ramona Kitzinger, vice chairwoman of the Waukesha County Democratic Party who observed the canvass, said she is satisfied the numbers are now correct.