By demanding a statewide recount, and insisting that the recount continue to the end even as it became clear she had no chance of success, JoAnne Kloppenburg has seen her public persona devolve into a caricature of a bitter partisan lacking the necessary judgment for the job she seeks.
By contrast, Kathy Nickolaus, the Republican Waukesha County clerk who was harshly criticized by Democrats for an election night reporting mistake, is seeing a rehabilitation of her reputation as the city of Brookfield and Waukesha County recounts demonstrate no meaningful errors much less fraud.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, noting many complaints about Nickolaus over the years, also reports that Nickolaus is receiving support:
Despite the high-profile blunder, Nickolaus has won support from many local and statewide clerks.
Brookfield Clerk Kristine Schmidt, who was irritated that she learned about the error involving her community during the televised news conference, nonetheless had a positive outlook.
“Truthfully, she’s one of the clerks in the state of Wisconsin who really makes an effort for her municipal clerks,” Schmidt said. “In general, she has made a lot of effort on our behalf to make sure we work together.”
In emails to Nickolaus, a number of clerks expressed empathy for her election night error and offered encouragement.
Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the Government Accountability Board, declined to comment on Nickolaus’ performance but did say she and her deputy are among the very few in the state and 500 nationally who are certified by the national training center for election officials. In 2004, she was also named to a 12-person Wisconsin Special Committee in Election Law Review that helped implement the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002.
Nickolaus made a mistake and apologized when she realized the mistake. Kloppenburg made a mistake but refuses to acknowledge much less apologize for it.
The Wisconsin recount has created an ironic twist of fate. JoAnne Kloppenburg set out to vilify Kathy Nickolaus, but in so doing rehabilitated Nickolaus while damaging herself.
There must be a Bible passage, parable or fable on point, I just can’t think of one right now.
Update: This may explain it, but not excuse it, Kloppenburg Etymology.