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Wisconsin Recall Elections: Democrats Look To Hold Seats In Two Races

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WISCONSIN RECALL ELECTIONS

MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin Democrats sought Tuesday to hold the ground they gained in last week's recall elections by fending off Republican attempts to oust two senators who fled the state in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker's proposal curbing public employee collective bargaining rights.

Democrats needed to win at least three of six recalls last week targeting Republicans, but they only captured two. That means the best they can manage from Tuesday's elections is to keep the ground they gained, which left the Senate in Republican control by a narrow 17-16 margin.

A third Democrat, Dave Hansen of Green Bay, survived a recall election last month.

The nine recall elections in Wisconsin this year were the largest ever in the nation's history. Previously, in nearly 100 years there had been only 20 recall attempts, including Holperin's, with just 13 successful.

With the ouster of two Republicans last week, of the 15 state-level office holders recalled nationwide, four of them have been from Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Democratic party leaders say they are moving ahead with plans to mount an effort to recall Walker next year, even though Republicans retained their majority in the Senate.

We're following the latest developments as they unfold in Wisconsin. Check out the live blog below.

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Wisconsin Democrats Bob Wirch and Jim Holperin will keep their state Senate seats -- the AP has declared both men winners after Tuesday's recall elections. Wirch defeated Republican challenger Jonathan Steitz, and Holperin fought off Tea Party challenger Kim Simac.

The Wisconsin state Senate will continue to be controlled by a Republican majority, despite the fact that two Republicans lost their seats in last week's recall races.

Wisconsin Patch is reporting from the election night parties of candidates Wirch and Steitz. Click here to read more on the outcome of the races.

-- Paige Lavender

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Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch editor Heather Asiyanbi reports:

Cheers went up at Wirch's victory party when it was announced that Jim Holperin had also successfully defended his state senate seat against Republican challenger Kim Simac.

With both Democratic seats intact, the balance in the state Senate remains 17/16, which means, if Senator Schultz from Richland Center goes with the more moderate view on some issues, Governor Scott Walker's initiatives could have a harder time getting approved.

Holperin represents the 12th district, in northern Wisconsin.

Click here to read more.

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@ sbauerAP : AP declares Democrat Holperin winner, second Democrat to win #wirecall Tuesday. Republican majority stays 17-16 in Senate.

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@ MadPolitics : With 71% of wards reporting: Sen. Jim Holperin 53% — Kim Simac 47%. #wirecall #wiunion #teaparty

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Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch editor Heather Asiyanbi reports:

Wirch gave his victory speech, saying Wisconsin has the nicest people in the world ... until you make them mad! The crowd cheered wildly and then Wirch thanked his wife and kids for their unwavering support.

But Wirch also said it's time now to get back to work, to get back to civility using the energy built up for this campaign to reclaim the state.

The crowd responded with a rousing chant of "Recall Walker," and after a minute or so, Wirch held up his hand for quiet.

He asked the crowd to keep the movement going. He thanked everyone from the bottom of his heart and left the stage.

Click here to read more.

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The AP has declared Democrat Bob Wirch winner of the 22nd state Senate District race.

Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch editor Heather Asiyanbi reports:

Wirch's supporters cheered him onto the stage at 9:30 p.m.

With 94 of 95 polls reporting in Kenosha County, Wirch had 21,327 votes to Jonathan Steitz's 14,840. In Racine County, town and city of Burlington votes came in for Steitz, with 2,863 votes to state Sen. Bob Wirch's 2,078 votes. All totals are unofficial, according to the Kenosha County Clerk and Racine County Clerk offices.

Combined, as of 9:35 p.m., Wirch had 23,405 votes and Steitz 17,703.

Click here to read more.

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Caledonia Patch editor Denise Lockwood reports:

People at Republican Jonathan Steitz’s campaign headquarters at the Brat Stop remain positive about the outcome of the 22nd District election.

Hundreds crowded into a banquet room at the Brat Stop as they discussed the polling activity and moods were positive until about 9:10 p.m., when someone announced the numbers were going the wrong way.

Click here to read more.

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@ sbauerAP : AP declares Democratic incumbent Wirch winner over Republican Steitz in 22nd district #wirecall

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Wisconsin Patch reports:

In Kenosha County, where most votes will be cast, 65 of 95 polls have reported results. There, Wirch has pulled ahead, with 15,941 votes to Steitz's 11,479.

Click here to read more.

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@ MadPolitics : 53,510 votes counted so far in both races. 22,067 in Dist. 12 (Holperin), 31,443 in Dist. 22 (Wirch)

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Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch editor Heather Asiyanbi reports:

Wirch supporters continue to trickle in to the campaign party. And it is a party atmosphere. People are mingling, laughing, and even gathering around the Patch computer to check results through the Kenosha County website and from FOX 6 News to be sure the numbers are consistent.

Word is spreading that Steitz took Burlington, but by a small percentage and people are looking at that result as good news since they expected Steitz to get bigger numbers out there.

Click here to read more.

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@ news3jessica : Lead Switch in the 22nd-- With 27 of 95 reporting, Wirch (D) 54% Steitz (R) 45%

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Caledonia Patch editor Denise Lockwood reports:

The mood is high at the packed election night party for Republican Jonathan Steitz, who is trying to take State Sen. Bob Wirch's seat away from him in the Aug. 16 recall election.

Click here to read more.

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@ sbauerAP : Latest results shrink Republican Steitz lead in #wirecall against incumbent Dem Wirch to just 365 votes.

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@ ChrisJLarson : Was up in Holperin's area and saw many of the Republican Senators stumping for Simac. This could be close.... http://t.co/zLkzrzG

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Reuters reports:

Poll workers in the northern Wisconsin district had said they expected high turnout, In the southern district, long lines were reported at Kenosha polling places, according to Reid Magney, spokesman for the state Government Accountability Board.

With seven of the nine recalls over, Republicans have managed to keep control of the state senate -- 17 to 16 if they score no wins on Tuesday -- because Democrats failed to unseat three senators in six Republican recalls last week.

Click here to read more.

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@ MadPolitics : With about 1/3 of all wards reporting: Sen. Jim Holperin has 7286 (55%) — Kim Simac has 5944 (45%). #wirecall #wiunion #teaparty

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@ SykesCharlie : Sources say Simac underperformed in Minocqua. Not a good sign. She won by 115.. Should have won by 300+

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@ blueayes : Roger Breske is here at Holperin HQ. #wirecall

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@ SNienow : With 7% of precincts reporting, GOP challengers are up 59% & 54% in #WIRecall. million for a net +0 teeing up?? http://t.co/oQsCidR

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@ WI_Majority : With 7 wards reporting, Steitz leads Sen. Wirch 54-46% #wivote #wirecall

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@ MattBatzel : Sen. Holperin up early 444-350 over Simac from Forest County results #wirecall #wivote

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@ ballotpedia : Steitz leads Wirch 1,768-1,555 in Kenosha with 4 out of 95 polls in. http://t.co/bV0GryT #wirecall #wiunion

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@ MadPolitics : The first ward of the night has reported! 15 for Wirch, 35 for Steitz. #wirecall #wiunion

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Patch's Heather Asiyanbi reports:

Residents of Senate District 22 filed through polling locations on Aug. 16 at a steady pace for the recall election of Bob Wirch (D-Kenosha). He faces Republican challenger Jonathan Steitz.

Marty Redlin, chief inspector at the Moose Lodge on 30th Street, said turnout is less than during the 2008 Presidential election but well above normal.

"I feel like this is an emotional election for people on both sides," he said. "And it's interesting because with the redistricting maps, neither candidate lives inside the new senate district."

Click here to read more.

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@ sbauerAP : Polls are now closed in #wirecall of Wis. Democrats Bob Wirch and Jim Holperin.

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WBAY's Chris Hrapsky reports:

Wisconsin's historic recall elections are about to come to an end as polls close in the final two elections at 8 P.M.

In Senate District 22, covering parts of southern Wisconsin, voters are choosing between incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Wirch and Republican challenger Jonathan Stietz.

In Senate District 12, in northern Wisconsin, incumbent Democratic Senator Jim Holperin is challenged by Republican Kim Simac.

Democrats gained two seats in last week's recall elections, but the Republican majority in the Senate was assured regardless of the outcome of these last two recall votes.

But that didn't stop people from turning out to cast their ballots.

Click here to read more.

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The Lakeland Times reports:

Election officials were reporting heavy turnout in the 12th District Senate recall race early Tuesday afternoon.

In predominately Republican Minocqua, election observers told The Lakeland Times shortly before noon that turnout for that time of day was approaching last fall's governor's race. Nearly 700 people had already voted.

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Sean Sullivan of Hotline On Call reports:

Brian Sikma of the conservative watchdog group Media Trackers tells Hotline On Call: Turnout in the 12th District will probably exceed the spring Supreme Court election by some unknown margin. Around 4 and 5 hours after polls opened turnout was ranging from 25 percent to 42 percent of the spring election. Lower turnout was coming from wards nearly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans (based on 2010 and Spring 2011 elections) and higher turnout was in areas that trend Democratic.

Click here to read more.

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Writing for the Washington Post blog The Fix, Rachel Weiner reports:

After high turnout in last week’s Wisconsin recall elections, voter interest was expected to drop in Tuesday’s races where two Democratic state senators are being targeted. One is expected to have a competitive contest, but the state Senate is no longer in play.

But turnout is still pretty high for a recall, if not as high as it was last week.

Click here to read more.

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