June 7, 2012

Cheery News from Wisconsin...

Hatched by Dafydd

I've been fretting about one of the four recall elections against Republican senators in the Cheesy State. I understand that as of the day before the election, Republicans very narrowly held the state senate, 17 to 16; thus if any one of the four senators undergoing recall proceedings lost his election, the senate would switch to Democratic control by the same margin.

In three of the races, the Republican incumbents won easily; but in the other race, District 21, the Democratic challenger, John Lehman, is ahead of GOP incumbent Van Wanggaard by 779 votes. I fretted that we -- that is, lovers of individual liberty and Capitalism, as opposed to the lovers of thuggish public-employee unions -- would win the big battle to save Gov. Scott Walker but lose the tiny skirmish over one state-senate race, stymying total victory. I pictured brutal gridlock, with the Left refusing to allow any bill or appropriation to move, no matter how urgent or bipartisan, unless Walker and the legislature agreed to undo everything Walker has done up until now.

So I was greatly heartened to read this piece in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:

Easing the loss for Republicans is the fact that the Senate has already adjourned its regular business for the year and that a new set of legislative district maps approved by GOP lawmakers last year will give their party a strong chance of reclaiming the Senate in November's elections.

"It's a nice moral victory for the Democrats -- it gives them something to hang their hat on," said Joe Heim, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. "But I think the November election will very likely undo what happened on Tuesday."

Specifically, Lehman wouldn't have to face a GOP opponent until 2014, unless the GOP calls another recall election after the November general election... which seems extraordinarily unlikely to me, since Wisconsonians are already suffering from "recall fatigue." Either way, the next vote will be held under the newly redistricted map, which favors Republicans.

But control could shift back much sooner than 2014:

If [the District 21 election result] holds up, Tuesday's victory for Democrats could be undone in November.

Republicans have their sights on the seats held by Democratic Sens. Jim Holperin of Conover and Jessica King of Oshkosh. Holperin is retiring and King is new to the Senate, having won a recall race in August against then-Sen. Randy Hopper of Empire.

"It's not a big hit," Sen. Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) said. "We're going to have the majority back in November."

...So in a sense, it really was "total victory" after all.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 7, 2012, at the time of 2:54 AM


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