The Wisconsin GOP went four for six last night in historically unprecedented state recall elections that, depending on who you read, either do or don’t have major implications for 2012.
* Two wins for Democrats mean that the GOP keeps control of the legislature:
Democratic prospects of taking over the Senate, and union backers’ hopes of delivering a rebuke to GOP Gov. Scott Walker, ended when a Milwaukee-area district went to the GOP early Wednesday.
And that means thoughtful senators in the middle of the political divide — especially Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, who voted against key parts of Walker’s early agenda — should have an easier time advocating for consensus legislation on jobs, the economy and education reform.
Schultz and Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, neither of whom was on Tuesday’s ballots, may be the ultimate winners of the recall elections, forming a consensus caucus that rejects stark moves in favor of cooperation on shared goals.
The failure of Democrats to win control of the Wisconsin Senate in yesterday’s recall election of six Republican senators is sobering news, coming at a time when “sobering” is about as good as news gets.
To sum it up, outside of Cowles, the other five Republicans underperformed their 2010 colleagues, despite being incumbents (neither of the 2010 Republicans were incumbents). The degree of underperformance varied wildly, ranging from a point or two to an underperformance of over 20 points in SD-18 by Randy Hopper.
* And Scott Walker is a big winner:
[H]is agenda was not derailed after less than eight months in office. That would have been huge. Instead, he will have Republican majorities in both legislative houses – even if the one in the Senate is razor-thin.
* Until, perhaps, next year:
Dems would be silly not proceed with Walker recall based on tonight. The results project to a toss-up if you extrapolate out statewide.
Plus, next week there are two more recall elections, this time with Democrats, so the ideological groundhog gets another turn.
Photograph: Sue Peacock (CC by 2.0)