In back and forth evening of recalls, GOP appears to maintain control of Wisconsin Senate
By Geoff Pallay and Greg Janetka
|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|
||60,900||60,507 (Cowles)||27,543 (Cowles)||18,039 (Nusbaum)||45,582|
||99,328||50,125 (Darling)||39,471 (Darling)||34,096 (Pasch)||68,448|
||98,967||55,816 (Harsdorf)||37,099 (Harsdorf)||27,250 (Moore)||73,567|
||54,486||54,138 (Olsen)||26,554 (Olsen)||24,365 (Clark)||50,919|
||83,724||41,904 (Hopper)||26,937 (King)||24,365 (Hopper)||55,125|
||87,881||45,454 (Kapanke)||33,192 (Shilling)||26,937 (Kapanke)||59,916|
Chamber control came down to Alberta Darling vs. Sandy Pasch, after the first 5 races were decided fairly early in the evening. The Pasch campaign declared at Midnight CST that it would make no more comments and that it was still reviewing numbers. Meanwhile, Darling announced she was waiting on a call from her opponent -- but Pasch had not yet conceded defeat. Republican strategists maintained the election was clearly over in Darling’s favor, and some media outlets were calling the race for Darling. After 1230pm CST, reports emerged that Pasch had indeed conceded defeat.
If the results of last night hold, Republicans will now have a 17-16 advantage in the Senate -- with two recalls next week representing another chance when that breakdown could change. However, because both incumbents next week are Democrats, the Republicans will keep their partisan advantage regardless of those outcomes.
|Wisconsin State Senate Partisan Breakdown Before and After the 2011 Recalls|
|Party||As of August 1, 2011||After the August Recalls|
Money poured into these campaigns at historical levels from both Democratic and Republican interests alike. All told, those figures could eclipse $40 million -- a wildly high sum for simple state senate recalls.
In part, the Darling-Pasch contest came down to Milwaukee County and Waukesha County. After the Prosser-Kloppenburg race in April, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nicholas fell under scrutiny because she had forgotten votes until the day after the election. She is again the target of Democratic leaders, who are now alleging tampering took place in Waukesha County. No word yet on whether a lawsuit will be filed. All told, an unofficial total of 339,458 votes were cast in these 6 recall races (see chart above). In 2008, a total of 485,286 votes were cast in the general election in the 6 districts that held a recall race last night. Thus, fewer voters headed to the polls yesterday to determine if the incumbent would remain in office. Because 2008 was a presidential election year, voter turnout is considered to be at its highest of any possible election. So the fact that last night’s recalls garnered more than 2/3 of the turnout from a presidential election, is representative of the high attention these races received.
|August 9 Recall - District 2|
|Robert Cowles (R)||27,037||57.44%|
|Nancy Nusbaum (D)||19,974||42.43%|
|August 9 Recall - District 10|
|Sheila Harsdorf (R)||37,102||57.6%|
|Shelly Moore (D)||27,257||42.32%|
The race between Dan Kapanke and Jennifer Shilling was the first to be called where a senator was successfully recalled. Since the beginning of the recalls, Kapanke was considered to be the most in danger of losing his seat. Shilling’s win will open up her Assembly seat for a special election down the line. Declaring victory, Shilling said, "Tonight, Wisconsin and her citizens have made history. They found their voice and held their elected official accountable for their actions."
|August 9 Recall - District 32|
|Jennifer Shilling (D)||33,193||55.38%|
|Dan Kapanke (R)||26,724||44.58%|
Much like their last meeting in the 2008 senate election, the race between Jessica King and Randy Hopper was extremely close, with King ultimately defeating Hopper, making him the second incumbent to be successfully recalled.
|August 9 Recall - District 18|
|Jessica King (D)||28,191||51.1%|
|Randy Hopper (R)||26,937||48.83%|
Luther Olsen successfully held on to his seat against Fred Clark. While the two were separated by only 4 percentage points, Olsen led almost the entire night. Seeing the victory as a repudiation of his critics, Olsen said, “They were always saying 'Luther you're not listening to your constituents. Tonight my constituents have spoken and we are on the path to recovery. We are moving the state forward and we did what the folks of the 14th Senate District wanted us to do.”
|August 9 Recall - District 14|
|Luther Olsen (R)||26,553||52.1%|
|Fred Clark (D)||24,355||47.79%|
Since state legislative recalls have been tracked, a total of 21 state legislators had faced recall prior to last night. Of those 21, a total of 13 were recalled by voters. The two that were recalled last night brings the grand total to 15. Since 1908, a new total of 27 elected state legislators have faced recall.
- Recall of Wisconsin State Senators (2011)
- Wisconsin State Senate
- Laws governing recall in Wisconsin
- Redistricting in Wisconsin
- Advertisements in the 2011 Wisconsin State Senate recalls
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “In Darling race, GOP claims victory; Dems say too early to tell,” August 10, 2011
- [Vote totals for 99% of precincts]
- Wispolitics “Pasch campaign shuts down for night,” August 9, 2011
- Wispolitics “Darling:I’m waiting for a call from my opponent,” August 9, 2011
- Channel 3000 “Republicans Maintain Control of Wisconsin Senate,” August 9, 2011
- Wispolitics, "Darling declares victory in 8th SD," August 10, 2011
- Wis Politics “Tate: Dark cloud hangs over Waukesha,” August 9, 2011
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "District 2 Recall Election Results," accessed August 19, 2011
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "District 10 Recall Election Results," accessed August 19, 2011
- WisPolitics, “Shilling:Wisconsin ‘made history’ with 32nd SD vote,” August 9, 2011
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "District 32 Recall Election Results," accessed August 19, 2011
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "District 18 Recall Election Results," accessed August 19, 2011
- WisPolitics, “Olsen: We did it!,” August 9, 2011
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "District 14 Recall Election Results," August 19, 2011
- [Email communication with Reid Magney on June 29, 2011]