August 9, 2011
Today was the day that Wisconsinites (Wisconseenies?) voted on the attempt to recall six Republican state senators:
- Robert Cowles (District 2)
- Alberta Darling (District 8)
- Sheila Harsdorf (District 10)
- Luther Olsen (District 14)
- Randy Hopper (District 18)
- Dan "Hanky" Kapanke (District 32)
Two races have already been called for the Republican incrumbents: Cowles and Harsdorf; in the remaining races, the Democratic challengers are ahead in three (Darling - 39% of precincts reporting, Hopper - 23% reporting, and Kapanke - 52% reporting), and GOP incumbent Olsen is in the lead in the sixth (95% reporting). I expect the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel will call the Olsen race pretty soon now.
Next Tuesday the 16th is the third and final round of recall elections (District 30 Democrat Dave Hansen retained his seat in the first round of state senate recalls on July 19th); two Democrats are up for recall: Jim Holperin (District 12) and Robert Wirch (District 22).
Republicans currently hold the senate by 19 seats to 14; so if the Democrats can win three of these six elections, they will edge out the Republicans by 17-16. Should that occur, then the GOP will have a second bite at the apple on August 16th, when they can try to flip one or both of the remaining two seats to the Republican side.
Big Labor has spent literally tens of millions of dollars trying to buy the election, for the obvious reason: They want to prevent Gov. Scott Walker from implementing his plans to rescue Wisconsin's economy by, among other things, banning some forms of collective bargaining by government unions. But since government unions don't poll well in Wisconsin (or anywhere else, for that matter), very little of Big Labor's campaign cash went to commercials extolling the virtues of allowing public sector workers (cops, firefighters, government hospital workers, health and safety inspectors, energy-utility workers, garbage collectors, etc.) to unionize and go on strike.
The problem with "public-sector" unions is that there is no adversarial relationship between the parties. In an ordinary private union negotiation, you have at least two sides: (a) unionized workers, who want higher wages and benefits packages; and (b) management, which represents the stockholders and wants to keep costs down.
But with government unions, you have (a) unionized workers, who want higher wages and benefits packages; and (b) elected officials who have no personal skin in the game but are eager to vote for higher wages and benefits packages, because unions kick some of that back money to the politicians' reelection campaigns. Nobody argues the other side, because there are no stockholders -- only hapless taxpayers, and nobody bothers representing them!
I'll periodically update these elections until they're all called. Keep the faith, brother!
UPDATE 8:15 PM PDT (10:15 PM Wisconsin time): The Luther Olsen race was called with him winning, and the Dan Kapanke race was called with Democrat Jennifer Shilling winning.
UPDATE 9:24 PM PDT (11:24 PM Wisconsin time): The Randy Hopper race has been called with Democrat Jessica King as the winner. But happily, Republican Alberta Darling, the last remaining uncalled race (District 8), has snuck back into the lead, 53%-47%, with 80% of the precincts reporting! Keep your eyes crossed that this one holds; because if it does, then the Democrats will have captured only two seats -- and they needed three to take the state senate.
The Darling race could still turn back again, but the Democrats are running out of time. Even if it does, and the Democrats bag their three, the GOP would only need to flip one of the two Democratic seats to Republican derrières next Tuesday. (While writing this update, the precincts reporting perked up to 82% with the vote still 53-47 in favor of Darling.)
(Had the Dems taken five of the six seats -- instead of either two or three, depending on the Darling senator -- then they would have been guaranteed control of the senate.)
UPDATE 10:35 PM PDT (12:35 AM Wisconsin time): ¡Rabanos Radiactivos! The Darling race has just been called -- and Republican Alberta Darling has held her seat! In the end, it wasn't even close. (Take that, Hindrocket.)
Assuming this is a good call (99% of precincts reporting, Darling eight points ahead), the Democrats have failed to capture their third seat. The GOP still controls the Wisconsin state senate, no matter what happens next Tuesday.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 9, 2011, at the time of 8:13 PM
The following hissed in response by: Necromancer
If I remember correctly Wisconsin is nick-named the Badger State?? That might help and make it easier.
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
(The sound of a comment going right over my microcephalic head...)
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at August 10, 2011 5:43 PM
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