Wisconsin Senate may switch hands after recall recount
July 3rd, 2012
10:37 AM ET
2 years ago

Wisconsin Senate may switch hands after recall recount

(CNN) - Democrats may be poised to gain control of the Wisconsin state Senate, unofficial results of a recall election recount released Monday evening showed.

Democratic challenger John Lehman was 819 votes ahead of Republican state Sen. Van Wanggaard in a recount of the District 21 recall vote, which took place last month.

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The state Senate is currently balanced with 16 Republicans and 16 Democrats, and the body's presiding officers are Republicans.

Other Republicans survived the recall effort - including Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, state Sen. Terry Moulton, and state Sen. Jerry Petrowski - but a recount was called for after a June count showed Lehman ahead of Wanggaard by 834 votes of the 72,000 cast.

The recall was triggered after Walker and the Republican-led legislature restricted the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions in March 2011.  The race garned national attention and political groups spent millions on advertizing and voter contact efforts.

In his June victory speech, Walker said his win showed voters approved of the deep state spending cuts.

"Tonight, we tell Wisconsin, we tell our country and we tell people all across the globe that voters really do want leaders who stand up and make the tough decisions," he said.

In a statement after the original results in June, Wanggaard said "there are a number of outstanding absentee ballots, voting irregularities, and that there were problems across the county in the unofficial tally of ballots."

Justin Phillips, Wanggaard's campaign manager said the incumbent would take his time "speak with constitutients, voters" before deciding whether to appeal the recount, which he said did not satisfy some of Wanggaard's questions about premade ballots and improperly sealed ballot bags.

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Filed under: Wisconsin
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Bob

    Uh, yeah, but isn't the legislature out of session until after the November elections? So it doesn't really make a difference what the makup is; what counts is what happens in the fall?

    July 3, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Better make sure you get every action in the recount process on video with triple redundant backups. I wouldn't trust the WI Republicans one inch. They cheated during last summer's recall elections. Remember that remarkable clerk in the one county who has a knack for finding additional votes when Republicans most need them? I have to give her credit, though. She's good at what she does. Ain't been caught yet.

    July 3, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    cue typical rightie propaganda comments....."union thugs" "freeloaders" "illegals" but when they lose the recount, at least some of the WI legislature will be friendly to the average american

    July 3, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. sharinlite

    Oh, did Mickey, Minnie and Goofy vote? Perhaps the Dems dug up 819 dead people like they did in Florida and normally in Illinois?

    July 3, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. cali ha ha

    Battles are won through small victories

    July 3, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    That would be fun to see as well to see the state senate change happen. Walker follows in the same path as Christie - screw the poor and help the rich.

    July 3, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. 2020

    Thank God, collective wisdom in control.

    July 3, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. Angel

    Scott Walker was allowed to remain the governor of Wisconsin. However, the voters have stripped him of all real power and reduced him down to a lame duck governor. He will be just a figure head with the title of governor in name only. This is worse then being kicked out of office altogether.

    July 3, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. California

    Yeah the referendum CLEARLY continues.....................

    July 3, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. Bill in Florida

    Hey Sharin, or maybe Wisconsin voters are more intelligent than you give them credit for being.

    July 3, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. witchiepoo

    Who let them Democrats in on the true count, I will have their heads!
    Scott Walker.

    July 3, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. California Gary

    Whatever little bit of wing Walker has left, will now be clipped if the recount stands. He's not just a lame duck – he is now a cooked goose. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

    July 3, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Democrats will destroy Walker and the Koch Bros. won't be able to help him this time, it will be the State's business and his behind belongs to them.

    July 3, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. ohio

    wis.--ohio watched what you went through and we were so prepared to shoot down SB5!
    Good Luck in watching out for middle America! Ohio is waking up more and more.
    We are cheering you on!

    July 3, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. Cliff

    Let walker have full control and watch him destroy wisc just like Perry, Jindell, Nikky Halie and Rick Scott are doing to their states. They combined have an approval rating of a whopping 38%. Give Walker time I'm convinced he can be lower than them all. lol

    July 3, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. B.

    It is not over till it’s over, and november is going to be D Day on Republicans and their Corporate benefactors.

    This country is Not For Sale!

    July 3, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. truth hurts

    Legislature is OUT of session and a new election in November. Democrats just wasting more of the taxpayers money because they had a temper tantrum. But voters spanked them good by keeping Walker in office.

    July 3, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Lisa P

    Now there will be a five day pause while Wanggaard phones the Kochs to find out if they will back another round of his pointless delaying tactics. It's all about sowing doubt about Democracy, convincing the little guys that somehow they would be better off in a dictatorship of wealthy political donors than a democracy where the elections clerks sometimes forget to dot the i's and cross the t's. 'Cause of course Major Corporations never screw up, and always have the little guys' best interests at heart...

    The plus about having a Democrat-majority Senate? It severely limits Governor Walker's ability to drop any more "bombs" for a few months, at least. The Senate and Assembly Republicans have pretty much proved themselves to be a bunch of gutless rubber-stamp wonders. It will be a fight for the Dems to keep the Senate and flip the Assembly in the coming regularly scheduled (and thoroughly gerrymandered) elections, but I expect further bad results this Fall from Walker's just plain stupid policies will have their effect on voters in November.

    July 3, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. MaryM

    We already knew that. Walkers behind is toast. The state legislator will fry him

    July 3, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |