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Democrats hold seats in WISCONSIN recall elections | Reuters

August 16, 2011

Democrats hold seats in Wisconsin recall elections

By Brendan O’Brien

EAGLE RIVER, Wis | Tue Aug 16, 2011

(Reuters) – Two Wisconsin Democratic state senators beat back Republican challengers on Tuesday in recall elections triggered by a fight over collective bargaining rights for public sector workers.

Despite the recall wins, Governor Scott Walker and his Republican allies will retain control of the state legislature, where the battle over public workers’ union powers was waged earlier this year with mass protests, legislative maneuvering and court challenges.

The Democrats who defended their seats on Tuesday, Robert Wirch and Jim Holperin, were among 14 Wisconsin state senators who left the state in an attempt to prevent passage of an anti-union measure earlier this year.

Holperin beat political novice Kim Simac by 54 percent to 46 percent, with 78 percent of precincts reporting, according to WisPolitics.com. Wirch beat Republican lawyer Jonathan Steitz by 58 percent to 42 percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

After nine recall elections in the last month, Republicans have managed to keep control of the state senate — 17 to 16 — because Democrats failed to unseat three senators in six Republican recalls last week.

In total, the Democrats won 5 of 9 recall contests — with all three Democratic incumbents keeping their seats and two of the six challenged Republicans losing theirs. Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said the results had shifted the balance of power away from conservatives.

“The state Senate as now constituted would NOT have approved Walker’s extreme, divisive assault on the middle class and working people,” Tate said in a statement.

via Democrats hold seats in Wisconsin recall elections | Reuters.

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