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

08/16/2011 08:39 am ET | Updated Oct 16, 2011
  • AP/The Huffington Post

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.

08/16/2011 11:12 PM EDT

Dems Will Keep Their Seats After Today's Recall Elections

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

08/16/2011 11:01 PM EDT

Wirch Supporters Cheer For Holperin

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.

08/16/2011 10:53 PM EDT

AP: Holperin Wins

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

08/16/2011 10:51 PM EDT

Holperin Holding Onto Lead

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

08/16/2011 10:48 PM EDT

Wirch's Victory Speech Met With Chants Of "Recall Walker"

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.

08/16/2011 10:44 PM EDT

Wirch Met With Cheers From Supporters

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.

08/16/2011 10:35 PM EDT

Steitz Staying Positive

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.

08/16/2011 10:27 PM EDT

AP: Wirch Wins District 22

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

08/16/2011 10:24 PM EDT

Kenosha County Votes Coming In

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.

08/16/2011 10:23 PM EDT

Votes Counted So Far

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