More than a month after his Wisconsin recall election, Republican state Sen. Van Wanggaard has conceded his race — sort of.
Wanggaard still believes voter fraud was a factor in the race, which gave Democrats a majority in the chamber — a small consolation prize after the party failed to oust Gov. Scott Walker.
“Unfortunately, I only have 5 days from the end of the recount to develop a case to challenge the count of the election,” Wanggaard said in a statement Tuesday. “This is not enough time to fully investigate the mountains of evidence and answer the questions that have arisen.”
Wanggaard comes close to a concession: “The count of the ballots — those cast appropriately and those that may not have been — shows my opponent with more votes.”
After the votes were first fully canvassed, Wanggaard lost to Democratic former state Sen. John Lehman, in a rematch from 2010 for the Racine-based seat. Wanggaard demanded a recount, which narrowed Lehman’s lead to 819 votes.
Wanggaard said he will run for the seat again in 2014: “As General Douglas MacArthur once said, ‘I shall return.’”
Republicans have charged that fraud contributed to Lehman’s win, but have not provided any clear evidence.
Lehman’s win lifts Democrats to a 17-16 majority in the state Senate. The legislature is out of regular session for the year. Half of the chamber is up for re-election in November, when Democrats will have to play defense on a new map drawn by Republican lawmakers.