2011 Wisconsin recall elections come to a close with two incumbent Democrats retaining seats

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August 16, 2011

By Geoff Pallay and Greg Janetka

Seal of Wisconsin.svg.png
2011 Wisconsin Senate Recalls

Senators Facing Recall
Robert CowlesAlberta DarlingSheila HarsdorfDave HansenJim HolperinRandy HopperDan KapankeLuther OlsenRobert Wirch

Other Recall Information
Recalls by YearRecall Law in WisconsinRecall laws in other statesRecalls in Wisconsin2011 Scott Walker Budget Repair BillProtests over Budget Repair BillWisconsin Government Accountability BoardRecall timelineElection Results

MADISON, Wisconsin: Two Democratic incumbent senators in Wisconsin both held their ground tonight, defeating Republican challengers in recall elections.

The results mark the end of the dramatic summer recalls in Wisconsin, which saw two Republican incumbents knocked off and leaving the GOP with a 17-16 partisan advantage in the Senate.

In the District 12 recall, incumbent Jim Holperin defeated GOP challenger Kim Simac.

August 16 Recall - District 12[1]
Candidates Votes Percent


Jim Holperin (D) Green check mark transparent.png 30,450 55.12%
Kim Simac (R) 24,682 44.67%
Scattering 110 0.19%


Holperin won comfortably by 10 points. In 2008, when Holperin first won election to the Wisconsin State Senate, he won by just two points in a tight race with Tom Tiffany.

2008 District 12 Election

Wisconsin State Senate, District 12 (2008)
Candidates Votes


Green check mark transparent.png Jim Holperin (D) 43,595
Tom Tiffany 41,480

In the other recall race tonight, Incumbent Democratic Senator Robert Wirch retained his seat, defeating challenger Jonathan Steitz by more than 6,000 votes.

August 16 Recall - District 22[2]
Candidates Votes Percent


Robert Wirch (D) Green check mark transparent.png 25,524 57.35%
Jonathan Steitz (R) 19,662 42.51%
Brian Harwood (Write-in) 23 .05%
Scattering 42 .09%


In 2008 Wirch won in a landslide over his Republican challenger, Benjamin Bakke -- a more than 33-point margin. But tonight, Wirch won his recall election by a much slimmer differential of 16 points -- although still a sizable margin of victory.

2008 District 22 Election

Wisconsin State Senate, District 22 (2008)
Candidates Votes


Green check mark transparent.png Robert Wirch (D) 54,946
Benjamin Bakke (R) 27,383

Wirch may be out of a job again come next year, as the newly drawn and recently approved redistricting map has Wirch's residence outside of District 22. Meaning he would need to move to run for re-election or run in another district entirely.

Turnout

In the recall elections on August 9, turnout was about 72% compared to the number of votes cast in November 2008. Tonight, turnout was 59% compared to the number of votes cast in November 2008.

In what likely comes as a relief to most citizens of Wisconsin, the trips to the polls in summer 2011 is now over. Residents can return to their daily lives, without the likely interruption of another campaign ad or knock at the door.

Voter turnout in 2008 general election vs. 2011 recalls
District 2008 General Election total votes cast Total received by winner in 2008 Total received by winner in 2011 Total received by loser in 2011 2011 General Election total votes cast
2
60,900 60,507 (Cowles) 27,543 (Cowles) 18,039 (Nusbaum) 45,582
8
99,328 50,125 (Darling) 39,471 (Darling)[3] 34,096 (Pasch) 68,448[3]
10
98,967 55,816 (Harsdorf) 37,099 (Harsdorf) 27,250 (Moore) 73,567
14
54,486 54,138 (Olsen) 26,554 (Olsen) 24,365 (Clark) 50,919
18
83,724 41,904 (Hopper) 26,937 (King) 24,365 (Hopper) 55,125
32
87,881 45,454 (Kapanke) 33,192 (Shilling) 26,937 (Kapanke) 59,916
Totals 485,286 353,557
Voter turnout in 2008 general election vs. 2011 recalls
District 2008 General Election total votes cast Total received by winner in 2008 Total received by winner in 2011 Total received by loser in 2011 2011 General Election total votes cast
12
85,075 43,595 (Holperin) 29,750 (Holperin)*** 24,069 (Simac)*** 53,819***
22
81,329 54,946 (Wirch) 25,541 {Wirch) 18,838 (Steitz) 44,379
Totals 166,404 98,198
***95% of precincts reporting


See also

References

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