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Wisconsin Democrats claim two more Senate seats in recall elections

by Adam Russett on August 10, 2011

Earlier this year, there was a series of controversial maneuvers by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who tried to lower the state deficit by banishing the collective bargaining rights of unions, which would essentially dissolve the capacity of organized labor to push for higher wages as a group. Protesters immediately gathered in the capital city of Madison to protest the bill and Democrats in the Senate fled the state altogether to stave off a vote.

Opponents argued that the Wisconsin deficit itself was caused by Walker's big business tax cuts, while supporters argued that public workers like teachers were overpaid and the budget had to be balanced somehow. Eventually, Republicans found a legal loophole that allowed them to vote in the measure without the support of the missing Democrats.

The repercussions of the debate are surfacing now in the form of recall elections. Yesterday, incumbent Republican senators faced an ousting from angry voters. Four held onto their seats and two lost them to Democrats.

While this was a small victory for Democrats, the seats gained weren't enough for a majority, which means that Walker's union-busting bill will likely pass. Next Tuesday, recall elections are being held for Democratic senators, according to MSNBC.

Republicans largely viewed the outcome as a victory and a mandate from the people.

"Republicans are going to continue doing what we promised the people of Wisconsin – improve the economy and get Wisconsin moving back in the right direction," Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said.

The news source points out that two seats gained is still a big number considering the fact that just 13 recall elections have been successful since 1913 across the country. Governor Scott Walker faces a recall election later this year, but analysts are split over how successful it will be.  

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