Senate Recall Elections

election dayNine Wisconsin State Senate recall elections have been held, and Republicans will have a slim one-vote majority in the Senate after losing two seats on August 9. Republican incumbents Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) and Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse) were defeated by their Democratic challengers, Jessica King and State Representative Jennifer Schilling, respectively. Democratic incumbents Jim Holperin (D-Conover) and Robert Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie) easily defeated challengers Kim Simac and Jonathan Steitz, respectively, on August 16, and Democratic Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) defeated challenger David VanderLeest on July 19.

Pundits believe that the election results give more power to moderate Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center). Shultz was the only Republican to vote against Governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill in March, and he spoke out in favor of reinstating collective bargaining rights for public workers after a two years during the budget deliberations in February. His proposal never gained widespread support and was not introduced on the senate floor. In fact, Schultz recently suggested that he was called to Governor Scott Walker’s office in an effort to prevent him from introducing the amendment. Schultz and all thirteen Democratic senators missed a crucial vote that moved the bill past the stage at which it could be amended. More recently, Schultz has been working with Democratic Senator Tim Cullen of Janesville to promote bipartisanship.