I have only one thing to say to the voters of Wisconsin tonight — you damn well better make it worth my while to have shelled out over $10 a pound for Green Mountain Rain Forest Nut coffee for my all-nighter here.
In addition to the recall elections for Governor Scott Walker and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, there are four State Senate races in contention tonight.
When the recall petitions were begun for this year’s effort, the Republicans had a one-seat majority in the State Senate, having lost two seats in last year’s recalls. After the recall petitions were filed, Senator Pam Galloway of the 29th District resigned, leaving the Senate a dead heat between the parties. If the Democrats pick up just one seat tonight, they gain control of the Senate.
The most likely seat will be in the 21st District, which is the county and city of Racine. The Republican agenda in Wisconsin has hit urban areas hardest, so the odds are on Racine hopefully going Democratic. The incumbent, Van Wanggaard, is running against John Lehman, who won his primary on May 8 against a fake Democrat. All four Democratic candidates faced primary challenges from Republicans who ran as Democrats in the primaries.
In the 13th District, which encompasses Dodge and Jefferson counties in the south-eastern quarter of the state (right next to the now infamous Waukesha country which has such a rotten reputation for vote counting), the Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is facing Lori Compas. In the 23rd District, which includes Chippewa, Clark and Dunn counties, incumbent Republican Terry Moulton is facing Kristen Dexter. And finally, in the 29th District, the vacant seat is being contested between Republican Jerry Petrowski and Democrat Donna Seidel.
The Senate recalls may be as important as the Governor’s race. If the Democrats take the Senate, they can grind the Walker agenda to a halt, should he retain his office. The dynamics shift badly if Tom Barrett takes the governorship and the Republicans retain the Senate, and are still bad if the Democrats take the Senate but the Republicans will still have a huge majority in the State Assembly.
We will be here as long as it takes tonight.
One last thing….after two elections in which Kathy Nickolaus in Waukesha County was sloppy if not fraudulent in her handling of the ballots, she resigned. Surprise! She’s still on the job. The Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper has sent in several reporters to sit on the vote count ready to report the slightest questionable activity.