Voters in two state Senate districts head to the polls today to decide the last of the recall elections. The races will determine if Democratic state Senators Jim Holperin of Conover and Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie remain in office. Holperin faces a challenge from tea party activist Kim Simac and Wirch is up against attorney Jonathan Steitz.
The stakes are somewhat smaller though, after Democrats were only able to pick up two seats out of six recall elections last week that targeted Republican incumbents. Today’s elections will only determine whether Republicans will only have a one-seat majority or if they can recover from last week’s losses.
UW-Madison political scientist Charles Franklin says turnout will again be a major factor in today’s election, much as it was in the GOP races. He says voters last week in some districts came out numbers that were close to the levels seen in presidential elections.
Recent polls have given Democrats the edge in both races, but with control of the Senate no longer in question Franklin says both sides could have a hard time motivating voters to care enough about the outcome. For many voters, Franklin says today’s elections could seem like more of an afterthought.