Wisconsin Recall Elections
Today we have two elections of significance. California is holding its primaries, and Wisconsin is holding recall elections for the Governor and four state Senators.
In California, the selections for President are foregone conclusions, and decidedly uninteresting, but there are two other state ballot items, and one local, worthy of examination.
First up is the Class 1 Senate seat, currently occupied by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. There’s no serious likelihood that she will lose today, but this is the first election in California in which the two Senate candidates with the most votes, regardless of party, will face each other in November. (more…)
The last two of Wisconsin’s historic series of nine recall elections happens today. Incumbent Democrats Jim Holperin of Conover and Robert Wirch of Pleasant Prairie will be defending their seats against Republican challengers Kim Simac and Jonathan Seitz, respectively.
These final two elections seem anticlimactic after Democrats failed to win a majority in the Wisconsin state senate a week ago. The stakes are real, though. Most obviously, Democrats picked up two seats on August 9, putting them in a much better position to influence legislation. Today presents a chance for the Republicans to regain some lost ground.
It is also a possible test of remaining interest and enthusiasm, in an ongoing battle with national repercussions. Wisconsin has been seen as a test of the relative strengths of America’s two major parties in the months leading up to next year’s all-important Congressional, Senate, and Presidential elections. Wisconsin voters, in anger at Republican overreach as exemplified in the arrogance of Wisconsin’s new union-busting laws, sparked a tidal wave of recalls against six Republican state Senators, a wave answered by a backwash directed toward three Democratic counterparts. This is echoed nationally, as the popularity of Congressional Republicans has taken a nosedive, exceeding a smaller but also significant decline in approval of Congressional Democrats. (more…)
A revolt against the 2010 elections has begun.
The Wisconsin recall elections rocked the nation yesterday. Well, six of them. One other occurred weeks ago (the Democrat won), two more pro-forma Democratic recalls will be held next week. But the ones that could have changed the balance of power in the Wisconsin State Senate were held yesterday.
It was a historic moment. Never before in American history have six recall elections been mandated at the same time. This, by itself, is an indication of how unhappy voters are now with the results of the 2010 elections. In the last century, there have been only 20 recall elections for state legislators, total. Until now. Suddenly, there are nine more, in a single state — Wisconsin. (more…)
This is where we are live blogging the results of today’s Wisconsin recall elections. Results and high level commentary appear here, but we’ll all join in the comments below as well.
It’s on. This is the real thing.
The eyes of the nation turn to Wisconsin today. The recall elections can be seen as a presage of next year’s national contests. They are a referendum on the Republican governance not only of states, but in the House of Representatives. They are a test of the new politics under the Citizens United decision. They are a battle between the muscle of the Tea Party and the idealism of the New Deal, between conservative ideology and what’s left of labor unions in America. Turnout will be the key, so it is a contest too between the enthusiasm of the right from 2010, and that of the newly reënergized left.
If Democrats win three out of these six contests, they will gain control of the Wisconsin state senate.
Tomorrow, Wisconsin voters in a few selected State Senate districts will head to the polls yet again, this time to vote in the first round of actual recall elections, which may tip the balance in favor of the Democrats in the State Senate. Two Senate Democrats will face their recall elections on August 16.
The Wisconsin State Senate is currently controlled by Republicans, who have a 19–14 advantage. If the Democrats can manage to replace three Republicans, this will flip to a 17–16 Democratic majority. Two of the races appear to be walkaways for the Democrats (see below), so the Democrats would only need to take one of the remaining four races, all of which are competitive.
Both Democrats and Republicans agree: turnout will be critical. Since a midyear recall election of this magnitude with $18 million in campaign spending is a first for any state, no one can honestly predict what will happen.
Spending, especially by outside groups, has been phenomenal — on just eight Senate seats, the spending has been about five times the total amount spent on all the state Senate and Assembly races last year.
The Rothenberg Political Report has a well-written and succinct rundown of the races, and Chris Bowers of the Daily Kos has polling numbers. If you prefer your news from the right side of the aisle, the Weekly Standard’s political blog also has a synopsis of the races. Reading between the lines, it seems to me that the Democrats are guardedly optimistic and the Republicans are freaked out.
After the jump, I’ve given a brief rundown of each race, ordering them from the most– to least-likely to flip Democratic, based on polling data and news reports.