The first round of the Wisconsin recall elections are over. The Republicans won four races and kept control of the Wisconsin Senate.
Results of the Wisconsin recall elections
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, at a press conference in February of 2011. Photo: Megan McCormick/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License.
Six Republican State Senators faced recall yesterday. Two of them—Randy Hopper in the 18th District and Dan Kapanke in the 32nd—lost. Kapanke’s district had trended Democratic anyway, and Kapanke never once held a lead. Hopper had a worse problem: he had an affair with an employee, his wife is divorcing him, and this divorce is not friendly.
But the four other Republican Senators held their seats: Alberta Darling in the 8th District, Robert Cowles in the 2nd, Sheila Harsdorf in the 10th, and Luther Olsen in the 14th. Democratic Party officials cried fraud-at-the-polls in the 8th District. That District includes Waukesha County. That County provided the last-minute margin of victory for Justice David Prosser of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. But as of this morning, Democratic Party officials decided not to challenge the count.
Turnout, according to this report, was higher than usual for a recall election, but not as high as for the governor’s race last year.
First, the Wisconsin recall elections are not over yet. Two Democratic State Senators face recall next week. They, and all their colleagues, bolted from the State to stop a vote on Governor Scott Walker’s budget bill.
Second, Republicans keep control of the State Senate, though by one vote. They might expand that by one or two next week.
Third, money isn’t everything in politics. Not anymore. After $35 million in campaign spending, the Wisconsin recall elections came down to ideas. The new ideas of a government that serves the interests of those who pay for it, not those who work for it, won. The old ideas lost. And not all the campaign money or “community organizing” in the country could save them.
Voters in other States, and the country, like these new ideas. The Wisconsin recall elections show which set of ideas has the staying power.
Democrats still don’t realize that. Mike Tate, the Wisconsin Democratic chairman, said:
We went on their turf and we won on Republican turf.
Wrong, Mr. Tate. Senator Kapanke was a Republican on Democratic turf. And Hopper showed himself to be just another typical male career politician, thinking that he is God’s gift to womanhood, and “getting it on” with a girl in his office. Decent voters in the 18th District sat on their hands. And still Hopper lost by a mere 749 votes.
Tate insists on filing a recall petition against Scott Walker next year, after Walker has served one year in office. But yesterday’s results already show that Walker would win easily. He’ll win even more easily next year. Wisconsin’s economy has responded well to the policies he enacted, the policies that incurred the wrath of the Democrats and their allies.
If Walker needs to mount a recall defense, he will do it in a Presidential election year. That means that his challenger will ride up, or down, on Barack H. Obama’s coattails. And the operative word will likely be “down,” after the Standard and Poor downgrade, the bear market in stocks, and the bull market in gold.
Featured image: Wisconsin cheese. Photo: User Foodista/Flickr, CC BY 2.0 License.