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Democrats in Wisconsin fell short of taking majority control of the state Senate. Democrats succeeded in taking two seats away from Republicans but fell one short of their goal during recall elections this week. Republicans are claiming victory even though two of their members are now unemployed.
Republicans throughout the state believe the recall elections are a win Gov. Scott Walker and an affirmation of his conservative agenda and his attack on unions. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin said Wednesday that despite falling short Tuesday night, they still plan to recall Walker next year.
“Barely scraping by on their own turf is an incredible sign of weakness for Gov. Walker and Republicans,” party chairman Mike Tate told the Wisconsin State-Journal. “The historic gains made tonight to restore balance and accountability to our state, and restore Wisconsin values, will continue when the entire state weighs-in on the November 2012 elections — and with the recall of Scott Walker himself.”
Walker told The Associated Press on Wednesday that even though his party managed to retain control of the Legislature, he believes the recall election results show that voters want both parties to work together on jobs and the economy.”People still want us to focus on those two priorities,” Walker said. “They want us to work together.”
Walker reported that he will meet with leaders from both parties to begin working together. Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca expressed some doubts over whether that would really happen. “It’s bipartisan action, not bipartisan rhetoric that people are looking for,” Barca said.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who will preside over a 17-16 GOP majority should two Democratic senators manage to win their own recall elections next week, echoed Walker’s talking points. “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,” Fitzgerald said in a prepared statement after the victory.
Democrats and union leaders tried to make the best of the historic GOP wins. There had been only 13 other successful recalls of state-level office holders nationwide since 1913. “The fact of the matter remains that, fighting on Republican turf, we have begun the work of stopping the Scott Walker agenda,” said Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate.
Phil Neuenfeldt, the president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, said voters sent a message that there is a growing movement to reclaim the middle class.”Let’s be clear, anyway you slice it, this is an unprecedented victory,” he said.
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