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August 17, 2011 08:45 PM UTC

Democrats Hold On In Wisconsin Recall Round Two

  • by: Colorado Pols

McClatchy wraps up the coverage from Madison (for now):

The six-month saga that was Wisconsin’s state Senate recall movement ended Tuesday with Democrats retaining two seats – and Republicans still in possession of a week-old, razor-thin 17-16 majority.

On the fourth election day of the summer, two Democratic incumbents were victorious. Sen. Jim Holperin beat challenger and tea party activist Kim Simac, and Sen. Bob Wirch easily topped Republican lawyer Jonathan Steitz.

Bottom line: Republicans will continue to control the agenda in the Capitol, but it will be difficult for Gov. Scott Walker and other GOP leaders to get everything they want…

Mike Tate, state Democratic Party chairman, said: “At the end of this historic recall effort, Democrats have the momentum. No Democrat was defeated for standing up for our principles and standing up against the runaway, reckless agenda of Scott Walker.”

While control of the Wisconsin Senate wasn’t in jeopardy yesterday, a loss by either Democrat up for recall would have given Republicans lots of ammunition to spin the lengthy battle in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union agenda in their direction. Much was made of the possibility that Democrats would end up “right where they started” if these Senators were recalled.

But they weren’t; and even though Republicans didn’t lose the chamber last week, which was of course the original goal, the score today in the Wisconsin Senate recall battle is 2-0 Democrats.

This has reportedly emboldened claims that they’re not done.


24 thoughts on “Democrats Hold On In Wisconsin Recall Round Two

      1. Net change: Dems gained two seats with Rs moving from 19-14 to 17- 16. No Dems were unseated.  A third of 6 challenged Rs were unseated. Not an easy feat. And not 0 to 0.

        The R message that constituents were mad as hell at the Dems who fled, thereby focusing national attention on a political story that otherwise would have quickly faded at the national level, proved wrong.

        After months of bad press for Governor and Koch brothers, including very public and well publicized looks into stuff they didn’t appreciate being looked into, majorities voted to keep the Dems that so helped bring all that negative attention down on them.

        The GOP and Koch brothers made an aggressive effort, including tons of money and attempts to primary Dems with fake Dems. Got nothing but hanging on to State Senate by one vote for their pains. Dems got something to build on for 2012. Bet Wisconsin GO(T)P and Koch brother aren’t yawning behind closed doors.

      2. Math wasn’t your strong subject in college, I take it. GOP minus 2.

        Senate is now held by a one vote, razor thin Republican majority and one of those 17 remaining Republicans voted against Walker’s collective bargaining gutting bill. Remember? The final vote was 18-1. The one was a dissenting Republican.

        You strike me as someone far too young to have this advanced level of short term memory loss.  

        1. He didn’t mean it that way; what he meant was, since the GOP still controls the WI senate, nothing’s changed.

          Of course, that’s wrong because politics is all about the messages sent and the momentum one side gains from events like these recall elections. You can bet that the GOP senators going to walk on eggshells for the remainder of their terms and not introduce any more radical legislation, whereas they would have been emboldened if they had held on to all their seats, or even if they had managed to flip one of them last night after losing the two last week.

          ArapaGOP seems to be here on official GOP duty to spread the party spin, much like that guy who supported Buck last year and then disappeared. Can’t remember his handle right now. Anyway, ArapaGOP definitely knows better, although I like to hope that he doesn’t.

          1. I don’t think that any of the GOP Senators in Wisconsin are worried about another recall. In fact, they are safer than ever now that the voters have worked that through their system.

            I think WI shows that millions of dollars in union dues make reform very hard. But Gov. Walker isn’t going to be deterred, and he won’t be recalled. Picking off two Republican state senators will be the high water mark of resistance to the inevitable reform that is coming.

            Unless you are an overpaid, over-benefited government employee yourself, you should welcome Walker’s reforms.

            1. I noticed you were online hours before posting this. Had to call HQ for the official word first, amirite?

              Too bad that this is still nonsense. Yes, there will be no further recall elections, but we all know that a clear message was sent – no more radical hard right policies will come out of this session. Further, these senators can look forward to a real battle at the next general election. Also, as MOTR notes, there’s still the governor’s mansion to consider.

              Safe, my ass.

            2. I don’t think that any of the GOP Senators in Wisconsin are worried about another recall.

              But the governor ought to be concerned.  Very concerned.

              Or not, in which case he’s toast.

            3. For one thing, as MOTR pointed out, there was one Republican vote against his union bashing bill so there is now a majority that oppose that policy in the Wisconsin Senate. Meanwhile,  maybe a day later, Gov. Kasich of Ohio back tracked on very similar and very unpopular union bashing legislation similarly targeting firefighters, police, nurses and teachers that he pushed through in his state and for which which Dems have gathered over three times the signatures they need to place on the ballot a referendum for recall in November. That would be recall of the bill, SB5, not the Governor.

              With polls showing 56% of Ohio voters favoring the recall of his union busting, middle class bashing bill compared to just 32% who want to keep it, Kasich has sudddenly announced a willingness to soften some of the provisions if Dems call off the recall effort. This is a Governor who recently sounded, if anything, even  tougher on this than Wisconsin Gov.Walker. Dems are countering that SB5 should scrapped so that Rs and Dems together can start over. Otherwise, they feel pretty good about a recall.

              Why shouldn’t they? And what does the 56% in favor of recalling a GO(T)P bill say about their prospects heading into the 2012 election?  Ohio, as I recall, is pretty important state.

              Looks like Ohio Rs aren’t doing much yawning.


            1. He must have gotten an earful from his constituents to stand against the Walker bill. What else might he join Dems on?

              As disappointing as Dem leadership in DC has been, we’re seeing something completely different and very effective in states like Wisconsin and Ohio. The people of Florida have turned overwhelmingly against their GO(T)P Governor if his low approval rate is any indication.  Indiana not very happy with their’s either. Looks like  a lot of important states are suffering a lot of buyers remorse over their GO(T)P choices in 2010. And maybe seeing state Dems succeed where they’ve folded will stiffen a spine or two in DC.  

              1. Maybe his constituents chewed on his ear, or maybe he didn’t like the way that bill was being forced through in the absence of the Democratic members and proper notice, or maybe he pushed the wrong button.  I admit I haven’t researched it, but is there any other reason to believe that he was voting his conscience?  I saw the other day that this “courageous” vote was part of the 18-1 Repubs-only vote.  When it’s 16-16 and his vote is the decisive one, do you have any reason to believe he’d buck his party?

                1. Dale Schultz has been known to buck the party line before. He’s a moderate within the Republican Party and is in a district that leans blue. He offered a compromise bill that would have eliminated most collective bargaining rights for public employees, per Walker’s bill, but reinstated them in 2013. Walker rejected his compromise bill and in the end Schultz voted no, saying Walker’s bill was a “colossal overreach.”

                  He came out publicly against it and announced several days before the final vote that he would be voting no.

                  This was very expected among the community in Wisconsin. Schultz represents the 17th Senate District in Wisconsin, which Obama won 61-38 and even Kerry carried. Schultz has been a longtime moderate, and there are a lot of union members in his district.

                  He’s been labeled a RINO by his own party and threatened with a primary. I think was a vote of conscience.

                  Pretty good write up about the entire effort here, including some info on Schultz’s vote:

                  That one-vote GOP majority becomes significant from an organizational and policy standpoint. That’s because one Republican senator, Dale Schultz, voted against the governor’s assault on collective bargaining -which he referred to as “collosal overreach.” Schultz has been highly critical of the governor in recent weeks, and the extent to which he decided to work with the Democrats could tip the balance on labor, education and public services issues where the moderate Schultz has differed with his fellow Republicans.

                    1. And I agree, it is encouraging to see a Republican do the right thing based on ethics versus electability.  

                    2. I just read that Jon Huntsman tweeted that he believes in evolution and trusts scientists on global warming.  He concluded his tweet, “Call me crazy.”  I think he just stuck a fork in himself.

                    3. he’s my favorite, wouldn’t you know? And he’s been a long time vocal advocate of global warming. So yeah, you’re right. He’s done. If he wasn’t already. Far too moderate for the party he’s running in. Far too sane, too.  

                    4. still self-identifying as “crazy” can’t hurt when you’re running as a “Republican” right now.

                2. I said that he must have felt strongly that he needed to in light of pressure from constituents. Of course he knew his vote wasn’t needed to pass the thing and he probably didn’t like his chances of keeping his seat if he went with the herd. Just speculating on the possibility of similar future votes, especially if this R in this district sees a big sea change coming in 2012 and doesn’t want to be one of the bums in a throw the bums out election. Think how firmly his constituents must have opposed the union bashing bill for him to be the only R no vote.

                  Not conscience…simple politics. He’s just seen two Rs recalled, all challenged Dems still in place and his district must not be a completely safe far right one or he wouldn’t have felt the need to vote no in the first place.

                  1. some solid research in place of my suppositions.  Whether this R is a sincere, dedicated old style moderate or whether he simply wants to survive in a blue leaning district, his one vote is clearly an important factor moving toward the 2012 election.

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