New wave of Wisconsin recall elections are here
Thousands of demonstrators protest outside the Wisconsin State Capitol March 12, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin.
August 9th, 2011
08:40 AM ET
3 years ago

New wave of Wisconsin recall elections are here

(CNN) - The fallout from the Wisconsin saga over collective bargaining rights that ignited in February continues Tuesday with six recall elections that potentially hold national political implications in the bellwether state.

Six incumbent Republican state senators are targeted in the contests that are in part a referendum on GOP Gov. Scott Walker and the target of increased political advertising and spending.

Republicans hope to retain the majority in the state Senate, which they currently hold 19-14. Democrats are angling to win GOP-held seats to capture control of the upper chamber. A Democratic incumbent state senator held onto his seat in July, and two other Democrats will be on the ballot August 16th.

The elections stem from a budget battle between unions and the agenda of Gov. Walker, who was elected last November with strong support from tea party activists, which divided the state earlier in the year. Republicans insisted the measure was necessary to control the skyrocketing costs of public employee benefits and close the budget shortfall. Democrats argued it was an attempt to gut public-sector labor unions, one of their core constituencies. The legislation was upheld by the state Supreme Court in June.

In the recall elections, state Democrats object to Republican legislators' support of the collective bargaining law while Republicans are critical of Democratic lawmakers who left the state during negotiations in opposition to Walker's agenda, in an effort to block the bill. While the debate waged on, the fleeing lawmakers and protests at the state capitol made national headlines.

The debate has consistently attracted national attention and funds. Independent groups from both sides of the aisle released ads in the Badger State and tea party groups joined forces Friday for a four-day bus tour defending the Republican lawmakers.

The Tea Party Express hosted rallies Monday "as a final push to support conservatives who know that responsible budget reform has brought new jobs and greater prosperity to the state of Wisconsin," according to the group.

Amy Kremer, the chairman of Tea Party Express, said Washington should take a lesson from the Wisconsin recall elections.

"These Republicans and Gov. Walker have done what they were sent to do," Kremer said Tuesday on CNN's "American Morning." "Wisconsin is leading the way in turning the economy around and creating jobs again."

But Dian Palmer, president of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin, said "nobody should take example after Wisconsin."

"We took a state that was very settled and disrupted it," Palmer said on CNN. "We caused a lot of havoc in the state because of what the Republicans have done."

Ken Goldstein, president of Campaign Media Analysis Group and CNN's consultant on TV advertising, said the amount of money flowing into the races is "extraordinary."

"To see this much spent in Senate elections and to see this much spent on broadcast TV is absolutely unprecedented," Goldstein said. "The races have become nationalized and the perceived stakes are high, so there is lots of money to play with."

– CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Scott Walker • Wisconsin
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. George Clopton

    Republicans are willing to ruin the entire world's financial market just so they can continue to hoard all the nations' money. 1 trillion lost each year to individual and corporate deductions and breaks is vital to the nation's fiscal health.
    They worked 18 months on Debt reduction and it was scuttled at the very last minute by a small group of republicans. The same group that insisted on mixing debt reduction and raising the debt ceiling together. It's like they went out to lunch, got looped, and game back in a fighting mood.
    Republicans are doing all they can to cripple the economy and stifle job growth. They are gambling with the countries economic future just to win an election. There will be other elections for them. But no turning back for us.

    August 9, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  2. GI Joe

    we don't need no FASCIST state government (teabaggers/republicans) taking away our rights to safety, work hours, and minimum wage.

    VOTE DEM.

    August 9, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  3. Allen

    God bless the middle class working people of Wisconsin. We are all praying for your success in the recall election. We all pray that you win your state back from the GOP extremists.

    August 9, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  4. Max

    Keep up the good work, Wisconsin. Republicians are trying everything in the book. They want two classes of people:
    The rich, and the poor, leaving out the middle class. Of course if we stop buying what the rich want us to buy, to make them rich, where would they be?

    August 9, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  5. bb

    If we haven't learned by now that the Republicans are anti-middle class, then we'll never get it. The middle class is the engine of this country – without it we have nothing. Vote Republicans OUT!

    August 9, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  6. Name king

    Hey before the last election before the repugs took over the house the economy crawled out of the hole and was heading down the right path. Repugs took over and did every thing to stop the momentum, they ran on jobs jobs, and all they did was fire government workers, starving local small businesses of needed revenues, get into people's personal lives, and declare an all out war on the working people.

    August 9, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Good luck Wisconsinites.
    I for one am very proud of you 'not going quietly into the night'.
    May God bless your fight to regain YOUR voice in YOUR state.

    August 9, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Citizens United 0, United Citizens 6

    August 9, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  9. Don

    Many national politicians gifted with a terrific sense of political-directional smell, will be watching these recall efforts very-very closely. It will be interesting to see what happens if the Tea Partiers are turned out. There may be some "spontaneous" changes of opinions all across the country!

    August 9, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  10. NoTags

    Today is going to be a good barometer of what to look for in 2012.

    August 9, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  11. Tulsa

    Go Badgers. Get the T out of politics.

    August 9, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  12. A True Centrist

    Interesting article in the WSJ about the results of the controversial ACT 10. Schools are now working with surpluses and most school districts have hired more teachers with smaller class sizes. Based on the immediate results, it has been a huge success and I can't imagine any independent-minded voter in WI voting anything but Republican.

    August 9, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  13. 4merRepubCT

    As Wisconsin goes, so goes the nation. The Tea Terrorists and extremist Repubs will not be happy until they have destroyed this great nation and its middle class. Wisconsin is a line of defense against the treasonists – hold the line. The working people who created and fight for our country are with you!

    August 9, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  14. Myron8160

    Keep it up the new KKK teabagers without SHEETS yall are doing are job for us now all need you gopteabaggers to do is get a riot started and everything will be allright stormfrontwhitepride the people with the SHEETS

    August 9, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  15. The Prince of Common Cents

    There is nothing more to be feared than an angry, fed-up, middle-class American with voting rights!

    I feel sorry for any far-right, extremist, tea partier in Wisconsin that continues to scream, "Cut, Cap and Balance!" or "Fiscal Responsibility!" or "We're taking our country back!" on Election Day. They really are out-of-touch with all us Joe American Taxpayer out here!

    August 9, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  16. Roger

    Time to take the garbage out. Their stence is overwhelming to the middle class workers of the United States of America. Straight dem ticket this time.

    August 9, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  17. gt

    this seems mighty small stuff after yesterday disaster on wall street and the loss of all those seals...

    August 9, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  18. dotherightthing4

    Hope the GOP prevails despite all the union thuggery and stupid people posting here. It should be apparent from the current state of affairs in this country that Obamanomics is not working. Record unemployment, first time ever losing our nation's AAA+ rating, heading into another recession and a stock market plunge.
    Walker's policies have turned the state around with jobs moving into the state the the budget moving into the black. Stay the course.

    August 9, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  19. Chipster

    Sadly, the Media is running our country now. It's a ratings war to see how much turmoil, anger, prejudice and fear they can generate. Some report a right-wing and others the left-wing position. Some actually report news but are moving in the direction of the extreme report because, frankly, you can't argue with success. They've discovered that people will believe just about anything – nothing is too far fetched – and as long as it agrees with their opinions, they seldom check the facts. Once the media repeats something often enough, it becomes accepted as fact and no amount of evidence to the contrary will be accepted. Anyone attempting to provide the facts is quickly destroyed by the most powerful media outlets.

    It's a simple formula:
    Fear and Anger = Ratings = Money
    And Money is all that really matters.

    August 9, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  20. nagrom

    Wisconsin is a great state and one that deserves better than what it is going through. It is a sign of the times of what the Republicans real agenda is. Just like Ronnie before them who dismantled many unions so be it the Republicans are doing it in Wisconsin. They insisted that less government and lack of unions will stimulate the economy. Maybe for the rich. Jobs went over seas and people were laid off with no protection to keep their jobs. Big corporations got bigger with no payrolls to worry about. Their goods and services were no longer generating funds in the US.

    August 9, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  21. johnson

    the teabags and the republicans all should lose because it is a shame the way that they r messing this country it does not make sense but, when GOD get with then they will not it. also what they fail to realize is that the middle class and the poor are the reasons they r where they are. will come back to bite them very very very hard.

    August 9, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  22. JohnOBX

    Good luck Wisconsin. Throw the baggers out and replace them with something a few notches higher on the evolutionary scale. Like a centipede.

    August 9, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  23. Republicans, The "Not Intended To Be Factually Accurate" Party

    The loss of 1 of these 6 seats puts the fear of God back into the National Republican/Tea Party because it is an indicator that the mandate they claim to have has been overplayed. If the Dems can caputre 50% of these seats, they can flip the script and regain control of the state senate in LESS THAN A YEAR. In politics, that's light speed!

    Imagine how those House of Representative Republicans in "competitve districts" will feel if that happens . I'll bet you'll get some movement out of that "Debt Super Committee" then.

    We've got to demand that these gerrymandered districts be more represenative and logical in their layout so that idealogical candidates can't park themselves in districts and simply play the hostage game.

    August 9, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    A True Centrist wrote:
    Interesting article in the WSJ about the results of the controversial ACT 10. Schools are now working with surpluses and most school districts have hired more teachers with smaller class sizes. Based on the immediate results, it has been a huge success and I can't imagine any independent-minded voter in WI voting anything but Republican.
    -------------
    I keep hearing about such an article but have never found one. I would love to see how Gov. Walker has created an economic perpetual motion machine. I want to see how you can cut a budget, but wind up with more than what you started out with.

    Based on the immediate results, it sounds like a good thing. What are the long term results?

    August 9, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  25. Whywhy

    Thank you everyone for showing your support for Wisconsin. We appreciate it. For those who supports what Gov. Scott Walker did... I have nothing to say to you because you don't have a brain and will not listen. We, the middle class will take back America. We will not allow Rich and Greedy republicans and tea baggers control us.

    August 9, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
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