They may have fallen short of their goal to retake control of the state senate, but Wisconsin Democrats and their allies likely are to press ahead with their next recall target: GOP Gov. Scott Walker, according to a political analyst in the Badger State.
Although Wisconsin Democrats ousted two state Republican lawmakers this week in recall elections, they fell short of the three required to regain a majority in the state’s senate. In all, six Republican lawmakers were in jeopardy in Tuesday’s recall. Two of those lost, while voters chose to allow the other four to remain in office.
Despite that disappointment, the Democrats probably will still attempt to force a recall of Walker, whose initiative to strip state employees of collective bargaining rights prompted the outrage which led to the mass recall effort.
The Wisconsin recall campaign reverberated far beyond state lines. Washington Democrats, organized labor, and other groups poured funds and staff into the state to help drive Republicans from office. On the other side, deep-pocketed conservative groups also spent many millions of dollars to defend the embattled Republicans.
Despite falling short in their effort to retake the state senate, Democrats and their allies in organized labor sounded less and less defeated — and more defiant — as the day wore on Wednesday.
The head of the national Teamsters union, Jim Hoffa, went so far as to say Wisconsin Republicans “didn’t win four seats –- they lost two and barely hung on to two others in closely-contested races.”
“What really happened yesterday is that thousands of middle-class workers – nurses and firemen, teachers and truckers – said enough is enough and rose up to challenge Republican legislators that have been pushing Walker’s radical, corporately-funded anti-worker agenda,” Hoffa says.
“I am proud of every man and woman that turned out to vote to protect Wisconsin’s middle class. No matter what the result, your voice was heard. Your work leading up to these elections made those two victories possible,” he adds. “We will continue this fight until we can be sure that our families’ futures are secure.”
Thomas Holbrook, department chair in the political science department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and author of Do Campaigns Matter?, expects efforts to recall Walker to move forward.
Walker first took office as governor in January. According to Wisconsin state law, he must be in office for a year before a recall could occur.
“I think the state Democrats and aligned groups will try to recall Walker,” Holbrook says, speaking in an online chat held Wednesday on the Washington Post‘s website. “All indications are that they will try to time it so the recall will coincide with the 2012 presidential election, the theory being that higher turnout will help them.”
Walker enjoys only a dismal 37-percent voter approval level, according to a recent University of Wisconsin poll.
Scott Nance is the editor and publisher of the news site The Washington Current. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.