Yesterday, during the recall elections of six Republican state Senators in Wisconsin that saw an unprecedented level of spending — $30 million — Democrats fell in defeat, losing four of the six elections. They needed to win at least three to take back control of the state Senate. This was an epic defeat for Big Labor and leftist groups who proclaimed Wisconsin to be the center of the political universe.
Liberals nationwide looking to the Badger State to proclaim victory were left disappointed and even angry, with the Wisconsin Democrat Party Chair claiming voter fraud in a fit of frustration, which he had to walk back hours later.
So, who were the big winners and losers from yesterday? Our friends at the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel report:
Gov. Scott Walker – Winner. Yes, he disappeared from the public eye in recent weeks. Yes, he has lost a little of his swagger. But his agenda was not derailed after less than eight months in office. That would have been huge. Instead, he will have Republican majorities in both legislative houses – even if the one in the Senate is razor-thin. The bottom line: He can push forward with his policies, albeit a bit more cautiously.
We are Wisconsin – Loser. What happened to the unions' much-lauded ground game? They dumped up to $20 million in the state and ended up with just two Senate seats. That's a lot of money to shore up the Democratic minority in one legislative chamber. The number could even dwindle to one net seat if Republican Kim Simac pulls an upset over Democratic Sen. Jim Holperin next week.
Democratic Party of Wisconsin – Loser. This marks two consecutive elections in which the party, under Chairman Mike Tate, fell short of its goals. Democrats were shellacked in 2010, and they came up one Senate seat short this time with former Mayor Tom Barrett campaign manager Phil Walzak at the helm. You can bet President Obama's 2012 team is keeping a close eye on these developments.
Recall Walker campaign – Loser. Do you hear that hissing sound? It's the air going out of the campaign to recall the first-term governor in January. No doubt, died-hard liberals will still push the idea. But realize this: Staging a statewide recall campaign – collecting 540,000 signatures and then running a campaign against an incumbent governor – is a monumental task even if you have all the momentum. Tuesday's results make it nearly impossible.
And we'll add: Barack Obama – Loser. Wisconsin was a slam dunk cinch for Obama in 2008. Wanna make a little wager on whether the Obama campaign is treating it the same way after last night?
For the full list of winners and losers click here.
This loss for Wisconsin Democrats, while largely symbolic, will have an impact on left wing and labor outside group fundraising and the media narrative surrounding the entire political battle between Governor Scott Walker and the left. It is also likely to kill the momentum towards a recall attempt of Walker himself.
Democrats shut down the capitol in Madison only a few short months ago, with the Democrat state Senate caucus fleeing the state, rather than staying and letting their legislative priorities go down in defeat (definition of sore loser). In their stead, they sent thousands of out-of-state union hacks bussed in to protest Governor Walker's attempt to balance the budget through making public employees pay their fair share of their health care and pension costs.
Wisconsin voters sent the message yesterday that they don't appreciate such tactics.
To make matters worse for Wisconsin Dems, next Tuesday two Democrat state Senators are up for recall, which could see the GOP gain back the two seats they lost last night.
Last night was not a good night to be a Democrat.