On Tuesday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker held onto his job with a typical Republican campaign built on trickery, wildly dishonest messaging and a massive budget courtesy of a handful of ideologically like-minded sugar daddies from out-of-state (according to Mother Jones, about two-thirds of Walker’s donations came from outside the Badger State, compared with just around a quarter of his opponent’s).
In the aftermath of the vote, conservatives, proving typically magnanimous in victory, spun the results like a top. They claimed the outcome spelled doom for Obama this fall, marked the death of the labor movement and was a pure reflection of voters’ love for Scott Walker’s economy-crushing austerity policies.
“This is what democracy looks like,” Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch crowed after hanging on to her job. “Public sector unions are over,” rejoiced libertarian blogger Radley Balko on Twitter. The Breitbart kids, furthering a standard-issue conservative lie about unions, happily reported that, “Walker won 36% of Wisconsin’s union households, which isn’t surprising, considering how workers reacted when emancipated from forced dues.” (By law, nobody can be forced to pay union dues – workers in union shops can only be compelled to pay the direct costs of representing them.)
1. Wisconsinites Just Didn’t Like the Idea of Recalling a Sitting Governor
An honest reading of the published exit poll leads to an important conclusion about Walker’s victory that has little to do with unions, Walker’s policies, the economy or any of the other factors that have pundits’ tongues wagging.
Fully 70 percent of those voters polled believed that recall elections are either never appropriate (10 percent) or are only appropriate in the case of official misconduct (60 percent).
The governor won 72 percent of this group. And it’s worth noting that a third of those voters who said “official misconduct” is a good reason to recall a governor voted to oust Walker, who has seen six of his staffers charged with 15 felonies in the “John Doe” probe.
While Walker himself has not yet been charged, reports suggest that the investigation is circling closer to him.
2. Wealthy Wisconsinites Voted Their Self-Interest
Also belying the spin that this was a referendum on public sector unions is the fact that the wealthiest fifth of the population – the people who have benefitted directly from Scott Walker’s tax cuts (passed during a supposed “fiscal crisis”) and probably worry too much about the social safety net he has ripped apart – made all the difference in the race.
Scott Walker and Tom Barrett were tied among the 80 percent of Wisconsin voters who make less than $100,000 (Walker got 50.2% of the vote, but the poll has a 4-point margin of error). Among the 20 percent who make $100 grand or more, Walker trounced Barrett, 63-37.
3. About Those Union Households
Did unions fail to turn out the vote? No, a third of the electorate belonged to a “union household” – the biggest share in any gubernatorial or presidential race since 2004.
But much has been made about the fact that Walker won 38 percent among that group. It’s a sad reality, but a little too much is being made of it, when you dig into the numbers. As the Washington Post noted, union members voted overwhelmingly for Barrett – by a 71-29 margin. But members of “union households” who don’t belong to a union only supported Barret by a 51-48 margin – not enough to make a difference.
That means that people who have a family member who belongs to a union didn’t feel their loved ones were under attack. Which brings us to…
4. How Could it Be a Referendum on Union Rights When Nobody Ran on Union Rights?
A slim majority of voters approved of Walker stripping the rights of public sector unions. But a final nail in the coffin for the narrative that Walker won on that issue is the simple fact that Barrett chose not to campaign on it. In fact, Barrett touted the fact that he wasn’t labor’s first choice (unions had backed Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, whom Barrett defeated in a primary) and bragged on the campaign trail about how he had been a tough negotiator with public employee unions as mayor of Milwaukee. He presented himself as the centrist who can “make tough choices” – basically parroting the case that Walker made in 2010.
That may have been a huge tactical error – hindsight is 50/50 – but it is the case, and suggesting that this election was all about Walker’s union-busting is simply divorced from the reality of the campaign.
5. This Is What Plutocracy Looks Like
It’s not accurate to say that money made all the difference in this race. The two candidates, facing off for the second time in two years, were both well-known by the electorate and the overwhelming majority of voters had made up their minds before the battle commenced.
But it’s also a mistake to dismiss the Walker camp’s ability to outspend their opponents by a 10 to 1 margin. According to the National Journal, the result was that “Walker and his Republican allies have outspent Democrat Tom Barrett and supportive groups more than 3-1 on TV ad buys during the three months leading up to the June 5 recall election.” This is likely the new normal in the age ofCitizens United.
6. Very Little Changed From 2010, Except the Number of Voters
Pundits have to blather about what a big contest means, but the reality is that there wasn’t much difference between this contest and the last one between the two men in 2010.
7. A Wisconsin Race That Tells Us Virtually Nothing About November
Immediately after the vote, CNN’s John King wondered whether Wisconsin, a pretty solidly “blue” state, should be moved from the “lean Obama” category to “up for grabs.” Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said Walker’s win “helps to put Wisconsin in play.”
8. Don’t Forget 2011
None of this is to suggest that Tuesday wasn’t a painful defeat for the forces of progress in Wisconsin. It was. But much of the coverage has focused on Tuesday’s races in isolation, and that’s a mistake.
The picture looks a lot rosier when one considers the entire 16 months Scott Walker has been in office. Since Walker’s draconian union-busting measure passed, Democrats have collected the scalps of four sitting state senators, flipping the upper chamber to their control.
Three Democrats defended themselves against Republican recall efforts in 2011, while defeating two of their opponents. Then, back in March, another Republican targeted for recall, Pam Galloway, abruptly resigned, leaving the senate evenly split between the two parties. At the time, she said she was stepping down to deal with “family issues,” but it was widely believed that she didn’t have the desire to face a tough recall fight.
Then, on Tuesday, Democrat John Lehman appears to have picked up a senate seat in Racine County, swinging the chamber to Democratic control (there may be a recount, but he has a fairly solid lead of around 800 votes).
Political pundits will spend the next few days and weeks analyzing the Wisconsin recall election, examining exit polls, spilling lots of ink over how different demographic groups — income, race, religious, union membership, gender, party affiliation, independents, liberals/conservatives/moderates, etc — voted on Tuesday.
But the real winner in Wisconsin on Tuesday was not Gov. Scott Walker, but Big Money. And the real loser was not Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, but democracy.
Walker’s Republican campaign outspent Barrett’s Democratic campaign by $30.5 million to $4 million — that’s a 7.5 to 1 advantage. Another way of saying this is that of the $34.5 million spent on their campaigns, Walker spend 88% of the money.
Walker beat Barrett by 1,316,989 votes to 1,145,190 votes — 53% to 46% (with 1% going to an independent candidate).
Here’s another way of saying that: Walker spent $23 for each vote he received, while Barrett spent only $3.47 per vote.
Turnout in the Wisconsin recall reached a major high for a gubernatorial race, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports — but fell just short of the presidential-level turnout predicted by state officials.
Fifty-seven percent of voting-age adults voted, about 2.5 million people. That figure is less than the 60 to 65 percent turnout predicted by the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state.
h/t: TPM LiveWire
Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has conceded the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall, following the victory of incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
“I just got off the phone with Gov. Walker, and congratulated him on his victory tonight,” Barrett told supporters at his concession speech. “We agreed that it is important for us towork together.
H/T: TPM LiveWire
Multiple news organizations have called the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall for incumbent Republican Scott Walker. But Democratic candidate Tom Barrett’s campaign is not conceding yet — citing crowded polling places where some voters have still been in line.
8:32PM CDT Update in Wisconsin
BREAKING NEWS: WI-Gov TCTC
Polls close in Wisconsin; NBC News declares governor’s race ‘Too Close to Call’ - @NBCNews
TCTC = Too Close to Call
he numbers are crazy.
Dane County (home of Madison):Voters and public officials are reporting long lines at many Wisconsin polling places Tuesday — with Dane County Clerk Karen Peters calling the local turnout “just wild” so far.
"It ranges from 28 to 42 percent already; it is a huge turnout. We could hit 80 to 88 percent," Peters said of Dane County’s turnout. At midday, she was fielding calls wrapping up a status report from local clerks.
Democrats need to run up huge margins in Dane in order to have any chance of success. Hitting 88 percent would go a long ways toward victory.
But the bigger issue is Milwaukee, where African American and other Democratic-leaning voters stayed home in 2010 and cost Democrats the governor’s mansion. Madison can’t make up the margins that Gov. Scott Walker will run up in rural Red Wisconsin. We need Milwaukee to come in big. On that front, things are looking promising:Heavy turnout in Milwaukee led the city Election Commission to call out the reserves Tuesday.
Extra poll workers were sent to polling places at Becher Terrace, Bradley Tech High School, Keenan Health Center, Morse Middle School, Rufus King International School Middle Years Campus and Cass Street, 53rd Street, Grantosa and Parkview schools, said Sue Edman, the election commission’s executive director.
The backup workers were needed to handle long lines, partly because a significant number of new voters were registering at the polls, Edman said.
“We knew things would be busy, but we didn’t know how busy,” Edman said.
State elections officials predicted that between 60-65 percent of eligible voters would turn out. We need that number to be around 65-70 percent to win.
Anyone who has followed this year’s recall battle in Wisconsin knows the feeling of being buried in news stories, blog posts, tweets, rumors, and innuendo on campaign spending, crime rates, job creation, and the John Doe investigation looming over Gov. Scott Walker. “Frenzy” is a good word to describe the past 16 months in Wisconsin politics. The fight began with Walker’s anti-union “budget repair” bill and the protests against it, but since then, Democrats and Republicans have clashed continuously over the governor and his controversial agenda, and political advertisements have blanketed TV and radio.
Let’s face it: It’s hard to make sense of it all in Wisconsin. So Mother Jones has compiled 10 of the most striking statistics from the recall rumble. They give you a sense of the time, money, and manpower invested by all sides—and how much each side has at stake:
Sitting US governors before Scott Walker who faced a recall via ballot box. Those two governors are North Dakota’s Lynn Frazier, whom voters recalled in 1921, and California’s Gray Davis, who got the boot in 2003.
The margin by which Walker is beating Barrett in the political money wars. Since January 2011, Walker’s campaign has raised $30.5 million; Barrett has raked in $4 million since entering the race in March.
The number of voter contacts the Republican Party of Wisconsin made in the past year. Spokesman Benjamin Sparks describes it as “the largest grassroots campaign Republicans have ever had in the state.” (In the most recent count, there were 3,270,637 registered voters in Wisconsin.)
Official projected turnout among voting-age adults in Tuesday’s election. The highest recorded turnout in a Wisconsin midterm gubernatorial election was 52 percent in 1962. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel political guru Craig Gilbert writes that the 60-to-65-percent-turnout forecast is “more or less insane.” But then again, these are not normal times in Wisconsin.
Chart of the Day: If Scott Walker wins his recall election in Wisconsin today, he can thank the big-money donors who supported him. (He should thank them anyway; that’s just manners.)
Important for tomorrow if you’re a voter (or potential voter) in Wisconsin.
After 16 months of bitter wrangling over the direction not just of a state but of the national discourse about economic policy, budget priorities, the role of labor unions in the public sector and democracy itself, Wisconsin will decide today on whether to bounce Governor Scott Walker — the primary American proponent of a European-style austerity agenda based on cuts to wages, benefits, public services and public education — from the position to won in the 2010 “Republican Wave” election.
Walker is only the third governor in American history to face a recall election. And he is the first to be challenged by progressives. The previous recalls deposed a left-wing populist (in North Dakota in 1921) and a Democratic mandarin (in California in 2003). This one could remove a favorite of the Tea Party movement whose campaigns have been heavily financed by the billionaire Koch Brothers and their right-wing allies.
At the same time, control for the Wisconsin legislature could shift to the Democrats in parallel recall challenges to Walker’s lieutenants.
1. WISCONSIN IS ALWAYS A CLOSELY DIVIDED STATE
Though the recall election was forced by the mass movement that developed to protest Walker’s anti-labor policies — including a law that stripped most public employees of essential collective-bargaining rights — that does not mean that everyone in Wisconsin is opposed to the governor. More than 900,000 Wisconsinites signed petitions to recall Walker — more than 40 percent of the electorate from the 2010 gubernatorial election — while more than 800,000 signed petitions to recall his lieutenant governor and another 100,000 petitioned to recall four Republican state senators.
That’s incredible, and if everyone who signed a recall petition votes, Democrats will be well on their way to deposing Walker, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Senator Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald and three of his colleagues.
The truth is that Wisconsin has since the 1950s been a closely divided state politically. This is a state of extremes, home to passionate progressives like former Governor and Senator Gaylord Nelson and former Senator Russ Feingold, and conservative firebrand such as former Senator Joe McCarthy and House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan.
Elections are closely fought. In 2000, Al Gore won the state by just a little more than 5,000 votes out of 2.6 million cast. In 2004, John Kerry won by barely 11,000 votes out of almost 3 million cast.
When both sides are mobilized — as they are this year — Wisconsin elections are decided by the narrowest of margins.
WILL WALKER WIN?
That’s what Walker and his amen corner in the media say will happen. They got some good poll numbers in mid-May and parlayed them into a sense of inevitability.
On the ground in Wisconsin, Democrats and Republicans agree that the race is very close. The pollsters agree: Even those who say Walker is ahead agree that his “lead” is well within the margin of error. The latest public poll has the governor up by three, who internal party polls have shown a dead heat.
WHAT WILL WIN IT?
Walker’s money has certainly helped him.
He acknowledges raising more than $30 million and final figures will probably put him closer to $40 million. His allies — the billionaire Koch Brothers, advocates for privatization of education — will end up spending $20 million more on so-called “independent” expenditures and other schemes to advance this candidacy.
Even with significant union support, Barrett’s campaign will end up being outspent by at least 6-1. His allies will spend millions more. But the Republican advantage is unprecedented in the modern history of statewide elections.
But Barrett has the advantage of a remarkable grassroots mobilization on his behalf. It is estimated that, by the time the polls close, Barrett backers and their allies will have knocked on 1.2 million doors. Over the weekend, in stops in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Racine, Burlington and Baraboo, Wisconsin — communities of every size, characters and partisan make-up — I say thousands of activists working phone banks, knocking on doors and distributing literature.
Unions often talk about their “superior ground game.” This time, as AFSCME Council 24 director Marty Beil says, “It’s for real.” And it is the key to Barrett’s viability.
WHERE DOES BARRETT HAVE TO MOBILIZE VOTERS?
While the Democrat has to renew his party’s appeal statewide — after the disastrous 2010 election — his primary focus is on the Democratic heartlands of Dane County (Madison) and Milwaukee County, as well as industrial cities such as Sheboygan and Racine.
Statewide, turnout fell from 69 percent in the very strong Democratic year of 2008 to 49 percent in the very Republican year of 2010.
Much of the falloff came within the city of Milwaukee, where 90,000 people who did vote in 2008 did not vote in 2010. Countywide, 134,000 people who voted in 2008 did not vote in 2010.
Scott Walker’s winning margin in 2010 was 124,000 votes. A presidential-level turnout in Milwaukee County could reverse it with 10,000 votes to spare.
SURELY THEY ARE RELYING ON VOTER FRAUD?
Governor Walker and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus have been claiming that Wisconsin has a major problem with voter fraud. Both have suggested that Republicans have been cheated out of as much as two- to three-percent of the vote in past elections.
Just to be clear: This is pure fantasy. Wisconsin has no history of serious (or even not-so-serious) voter fraud. Ask Republican Attorney General JB Van Hollen; after the 2008 presidential election, Van Hollen investigated charges of illegal voting. He found 20 cases, almost all of which involved mistakes rather than actual fraud.
SO WHY ARE WALKER AND PRIEBUS PUSHING THIS BOGUS LINE?
They are afraid they could lose. The talk of voter fraud sets up an argument that, if they do lose, the election was surely stolen.
If the result is close, as could well be the case, the promotion of the voter fraud fantasy helps to set up a claim that Republicans were cheated — as opposed to legitimately defeated
Wisconsin law allows for a full recount — at no cost — if the margin in a contested election is less than 0.5 percent. The governor’s race could be that close, as could several of the state Senate contests.
h/t: The Nation
To add to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s many flaws which some people may or may not be aware of, I prepared a list of few significant facts since the recall election is tomorrow.
Fact: Regardless of how voters want to view his job numbers, for months the Bureau of Labor and Statistics prove that under his Governance, employment ranks the lowest in the country.The lowest. Walker released numbers which cannot be verified until the 28th. Under Walker, even if the Governor’s numbers are correct, it actually falls short of employment growth during the last year of Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle’s administration and not even a modicum of the numbers he promised: 250,000 jobs during his first term.
The state lost 23,900 jobs from March 2011 to March 2012.
The majority – 17,800 – were government jobs. But Wisconsin also lost more private-sector jobs – 6,100 – than any other state over those same 12 months, the government data shows.
Fact: While most States are recovering and jobs are on an uptick, Wisconsin is losing them under Walker’s leadership.
Wisconsin lost nearly 6,000 jobs in April according to preliminary monthly data state labor officials released Thursday, putting Republican Gov. Scott Walker on the defensive as he faces a June 5 recall election.
The new data comes a day after Walker touted separate figures that showed the state added more than 23,000 jobs last year, contradicting other reports that showed a loss of nearly 34,000 jobs in 2011.
Walker’s policies are not working.
- April 3, 2012 Medicard Systems, Inc announced 2 workers will lose their jobs with more expected.
- April 3, 2012 General Converter & Assemblers, Inc. announced 58 workers will lose their jobs.
- April 4, 2012 Talgo, Inc announced 35 workers will lose their jobs
- April 4, 2012 Joerns Healthcare Inc announced 146 workers will lose their jobs.
- April 9, 2012 Compass Group USA, d/b/a Chartwells Operations at UW-La Crosse 270 workers will lose their jobs.
- April 11, 2012 Care Wisconsin First, Inc. announced 10 people will lose their jobs
- April 12, 2012 ATK – Accessories, Eagle Industries announced 130 people will lose their jobs.
- April 16, 2012 Richardson Industries, Inc. announced 7 people will lose their jobs.
- April 18th Lakeside Foods a Fruit & Vegetable Canning company announced 19 people will lose their jobs.
- April 20, 2012 Sells Printing Company LLC announced 67 people will lose their jobs.
- May 1, 2012 Mondi Akrosil, LLC announced 33 people will lose their jobs.
- May 1, 2012 Frontier AirlinesFrontier Airlines, a/k/a/ Republic Airways Holding Inc, announced 129 people will lose their jobs.
- May 4, 2012 Ace Distribution Services, Inc announced 11 people will lose their jobs.
- May 4, 2012 Care Wisconsin First, Inc. announced 11 people will lose their jobs.
Fact: Poverty and unemployment is increasing in Wisconsin, while income levels are dropping, according to recently released New American Community Survey data.
Fact: Walker said, “We gave every public employee in the state the freedom to choose whether or not they want to be in a union.”
Fact: Allegations in the John Doe investigation range from embezzlement to doing campaign work with taxpayer money. Six of Walker’s aides are entangled in these allegations. One of Walker’s aides, Tim Russel will face a hearing today. The former aide is accused ofembezzling tens of thousands of dollars from a county fund which was meant for military veterans. Russell worked for Walker in the Milwaukee County executive’s office.
Fact: Scott Walker repealed the Equal Pay enforcement law.
Fact: Walker’s budget cuts billions From public education.
Fact: Walker promised not to cut aid to public schools, but he did.
Fact: Wages are declining in Wisconsin. High-wage industries hire, but wages are falling.
MILWAUKEE — Right now, Wisconsin has a Republican governor and lieutenant governor. But after Tuesday’s recall elections, the top two officials could be from different parties.
In normal elections, the two candidates run on a single ticket. But in recall elections, public officials are on their own. So theoretically, Gov. Scott Walker (R) could hold on to his seat, while Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) could lose to Mahlon Mitchell, meaning Walker would have to work with a Democrat.
"Highly unlikely," former Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold told The Huffington Post when asked about this scenario.
Both Mitchell and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) also dismissed the possibility, arguing that people were likely to choose two candidates from the same party.
"We don’t see that split-ticket scenario at all. We’re not factoring that in," said Barrett.
Still, it could happen. People might check the box for Walker but leave the box for lieutenant governor blank — while more Democratic voters fill it in for Mitchell.
Technically, the lieutenant governor is in charge of Wisconsin whenever the governor is “absent,” but with modern technology, it’s possible to conduct business even when out of state.
But as the Associated Press noted, a lieutenant governor could still declare him- or herself in charge every time the governor leaves the state — and cause an incredible amount of mischief.
"Once in control, the lieutenant governor could sign or veto bills, issue or revoke executive orders, make judicial appointments, call lawmakers into a special session, demand access to confidential governor files or issue pardons,” reported the AP. “While the governor could undo most of those moves upon returning, a pardon is irreversible, and any secrets learned by the opposition wouldn’t be unlearned.”
If Democrats pick up any one seat, they regain control of the state Senate, while Republicans will retain the majority in the Assembly. The victory would be the result of not only this recall election, but also a previous round of recalls in August, in which Democrats took over two seats and narrowed the gap with Republicans.
While the victory would be meaningful symbolically, it might not mean much practically. The legislature is out of session until November, when regular elections for state senate will be held.
If Barrett wins, he could theoretically ask the legislature to come back for a special session, but it would require the consent of both the state Senate and the Assembly.
Yesterday, at a teabagger rally in Racine, Wisconsin featuring Walker/Kleefisch apologists, including Wisconsin Congressman and potential Romney VP choice Paul Ryan (R-WI01), Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R), The Dana Show’s lead substitute host Tony Katz, and of course CNN, KFTK, and Breitbart’s Dana The Devil. The rally featured tons of anti-union right-wing talking points.
Key Loesch falsehoods:
- Loesch: “I love your cheese curds, I love your beer, and I love your [pro-Walker/anti-recall] fighting spirit. I love your Governor (Scott Walker), I love your Lieutenant Governor (Rebecca Kleefisch), and I love your four State Lawmakers who are standing up to the machine!” (approx. 0:34)
- Loesch: “Andrew Breitbart (now deceased) inspired the fight that we’re fighting.” (approx: 1:45)
- Loesch: “Breitbart is still here.” (approx. 1:55)
- Loesch: “All of this started when some out-of-state union bosses want to exploit the working man.” (approx: 3:14). Wrong! It’s out-of-state billionaires like the Koch Bros. that are exploiting the working class, as is the GOP.
- Loesch: “Public sector unions aren’t our enemies, but the bosses, in my opinion, are.” (approx: 3:33)
- Loesch falsely claimed that “out-of-state union fatcats who make 6 figures while they bleed paychecks off the working families so they can do what? Donate to candidates who vote against your best interests.” Who’s acting against the best interests of Wisconsinites? The GOP, that’s who! (approx: 3:45)
- Loesch misleadingly stated that the “war on working families are perpetuated by union bosses and the Democrat Party.” No way, it’s being perpetuated by ALEC, Koch Bros, and other anti-union-based groups.”
- Loesch said “Shame on Mahlon Mitchell because he signed a petition to boycott pro-Walker Businesses.” Mitchell was well within his right to do that. (approx. 5:20)
- She said “Shame on Tom Barrett.” (approx. 5:40)
- She misleadingly stated that “there’s no difference between Barack Obama and Tom Barrett.” (approx. 6:25)
- Loesch baselessly stated that “Barrett will run the State of Wisconsin to the ground like what he did to the city of Milwaukee.” (approx. 6:38)
- Loesch misleadingly blamed the Democratic Party for the loss of jobs and starting the “War on Women.” Wrong, it is you and your own party that’s responsible for that. (approx. 8:27)
- Loesch: “You have 7% of the workforce that holding 93% of the population hostage. We are the 93% Percent.” Baloney. (approx: 8:56)
WASHINGTON — Despite polls showing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) maintaining a narrow lead in his bid to fend off a recall challenge Tuesday, national Democrats said they remain confident the party will come out on top during the election.
Michael Sargeant, head of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, a national group focused on electing Democrats to state legislative seats, told HuffPost he is confident that Democrats can win the one state Senate seat they need to grab control of the chamber. Sargeant said polling data shows three of the four Senate recall races within the margin of error. “It is likely we’ll pick up one seat,” he said.
In addition to statewide recalls for governor and lieutenant governor, voters in four Wisconsin Senate districts have recall races of their own. Democrats said they have the strongest chance of defeating either Sen. Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) or Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), or picking up a vacant Wausau area seat. Democrats are fielding former Rep. Kristen Dexter against Moulton and former Sen. John Lehman against Wanggaard. Democratic Rep. Donna Seidel and Republican Rep. Jerry Petrowski are facing off for the open state senate seat.
The seat became vacant when former Sen. Pam Galloway (R) resigned unexpectely in March as the recall campaign against her was finalized by state officials. Galloway said that her resignation was due to “multiple, sudden and serious health issues” in her family and was unconnected to the recall. State officials said the election would proceed as a special election. Galloway’s resignation leaves the Senate tied.
Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Clyman), facing a recall challenge from Democrat Lori Compas, is seen as the frontrunner in the rural southeastern Wisconsin district. When Wisconsin Democrats unveiled Senate challengers for the first time in March, a Fitzgerald challenger was not among the group. While the district trends Republican, Sargaent gave credit to voters for forcing a recall against the Senate leader.
"I am not going to disregard what she has done," Sargeant said of Compas.
Following the 2011 recall elections, Democrats closed the Senate gap to one seat shy of the majority, with Galloway’s resignation causing a tie in the chamber.
Sargaent said he sees a Democratic Senate as positive for Wisconsin. “Having a Democratic Senate will restore some sense of sanity in state government,” he said.
The tie caused Fitzgerald and Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona) to become co-leaders pending Tuesday’s election. In addition Walker faces a recall battle against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) is facing off against state firefighters union president Mahlon Mitchell (D).