State Senate Republicans lost two seats in Tuesday’s recalls, leaving them with a 17-16 majority. However, Senate GOP Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) doubts that having fewer members in the chamber will have much of an impact on their agenda.
Fitzgerald says many of the proposals taken up by the chamber this year have received broad support from all members of his caucus so the loss of two seats should not make it harder to get bills through the Senate. He notes that both parties have still seen success in the past when faced with a single seat majority.
Still, there’s widespread speculation that Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) could force a split among the caucus by leaning toward a more moderate stance. Schultz was the only Republican to vote against the Governor’s collective bargaining changes, the bill that prompted the recalls in the first place.
Fitzgerald says he doesn’t see that happening and believes those who have been making the suggestion are trying to “create something where it doesn’t exist.”
Schultz has also denied he plans to push away from the agenda of his caucus.
Despite the loss of two seats this week, Fitzgerald says the fact that four Republicans were able to overcome recall challenges shows it pays to “stick to your guns.” He says abandoning their agenda to distance themselves from the Assembly and Governor Walker could have actually been more damaging for the caucus.
Fitzgerald also remains confident Republicans could win back the two seats they lost next week, when recall elections targeting two Democrats are set to take place.