Democrats fell short of regaining the majority in the State Senate, following Tuesday’s recall elections against six Republican Senators. Two Democrats ousted incumbents, but three victories were need for the minority party to flip control in the chamber.
Among the four Republicans who survived a recall was Rob Cowles of Green Bay. He defeated former Brown County executive Nancy Nusbaum by a 52-to-48 percent margin. Cowles says both sides put up a good fight and “he’s anxious to get back to work.”
Nusbaum says she’s disappointed that she didn’t win, but her team did all that it could.
Luther Olsen of Ripon retained his seat but faced his toughest opposition yet getting 52 percent of the vote to State Rep. Fred Clark. Olsen says both campaigns used a lot of constituent contact, but he believes his volunteers made the difference.
“We lived and died with our volunteers, who did a great, great job to bring this victory home,” says Olsen.
Sheila Harsdorf of Western Wisconsin survived her recall challenge by a wide margin. Harsdorf says “the silent majority” had spoken.
First-time candidate Shelly Moore says she feels great for their effort but could not overcome Harsdorf’s name recognition and backing from national conservative groups.
Democrats who emerged victorious were Jennifer Shilling and Jessica King who beat incumbents Dan Kapanke of La Crosse and Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac.
The Hopper/King election was a rematch as the two squared off in the 2008 Senate race.
Despite all the money spent by both parties and special interests on the race the total of just over 55,000 votes cast for both candidates is about 38,000 fewer votes than were cast in 08.’ King is still pleased with the outcome during the recall process calling it a “grassroots movement.”
The closest race, and the last one to be called, involved Milwaukee area Republican Alberta Darling and challenger Sandra Pasch. Darling declared victory after midnight, with a few precincts still uncounted. She ended up with about 54 percent of the vote.
The summer recalls are not over. Democrats Robert Wirch of Pleasant Prairie and Jim Holperin of Conover will defend their seats next Tuesday.