Democrats suffered a significant defeat in Wisconsin last night when Republican Gov. Scott Walker staved off the recall challenge led by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. So it’s no surprise that they are now wildly spinning their sole election victory — a largely symbolic one that technically gives them control of the state Senate. The Journal Sentinel reports that former Democratic State Sen. John Lehman (D-Racine) defeated Republican incumbent Van Wanggaard in Tuesday’s recall elections.
The win would give Democrats a 17-16 advantage in the state Senate, although the Journal Sentinel notes that with the results at 51-49, there could be a recount.
While it might be symbolic to gain control — though the three other recalled GOP senators kept their seats — but the Washington Post’s Rachel Weiner points out why it won’t have any legislative effects at all: The Senate won’t meet until again until after the election.
“The state legislature is out of session until November, when 16 of the 33 state senators will be up for election. But it caps the recall season that began with a Democratic attempt to flip the state Senate last summer. That recall effort succeeded in unseating two incumbents, but Democrats fell one seat short of control.”
Nevertheless, Wisconsin Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller paraded the results in a statement:
“Tonight, Wisconsinites across the 21st Senate District elected a new State Senator. By electing a Democratic Senate, the people of Wisconsin have opened the door to responsible dialogue and if needed provide a bulwark against continued political extremism, and restored checks and balances to the Wisconsin Legislature. I look forward to working again with Senator-elect Lehman in the State Senate in the coming months.”
For Democrats, it could also be symbolic because like the gubernatorial election between Walker and Barrett, this one was also a rematch from 2010. Wanggaard unseated Lehman in 2010.
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