Wisconsin Just Showed Us. You can call a do over on your reactionary votes from 2010. Hate your representative? Completely upset with the jobs crisis, now projected to continue ad infinitum?
Have a recall!
In the largest clustered recall ever, six Wisconsin State Senate Republicans faced a recall election and special interest money poured into the State:
Spending on the nine elections had reached $33 million, most of it from outside special interest groups. Interest group spending has far eclipsed the Wisconsin record of about $20 million set in 2008 elections that covered half the state Senate and all Assembly members.
The fight is over Governor Walker's war against organized labor in Wisconsin, along with his Tea party cohorts. His anti-labor legislation prompted a massive recall effort of State Senators who helped Walker push through his anti-labor agenda. The voter turnout is hitting Presidential election levels.
Democrats needed to win 3 of the 6 races to regain control of the Wisconsin State Senate. They Came Up One Short. There is round two of this battle, with two Democratic State Senators suffering through a recall election on August 16th.
Here are the 6 Republican State Senators who were up for recall, with the Democratic opposition and the election results:
- SD-02: Robert Cowles (R) vs. Nancy Nusbaum (D) - Winner: Republican
- SD-08: Alberta Darling (R) vs. Sandy Pasch (D) - Winner: Republican
- SD-10: Sheila Harsdorf (R) vs. Shelly Moore (D) - Winner: Republican
- SD-14: Luther Olsen (R) vs. Fred Clark (D)- Winner: Republican
- SD-18: Randy Hopper (R) vs. Jessica King (D) - Winner: Democrat
- SD-32: Dan Kapanke (R) vs. Jennifer Shilling (D) - Winner: Democrat
Totaling over $33 million, money from labor unions, the Koch Brothers and corporate interests poured into the State. Koch fired off $1.5 million in one shot, with $400,000 going to one Republican on the recall list. Koch made a one time $150k ad buy additionally.
According to the Washington Post the $33 million was evenly distributed between Democrats and Republicans. Salon has additional breakdowns of the money.
A coalition of labor unions acting under the title "We are Wisconsin" has reportedly spent $8.8 million on Democratic recall efforts and, as such, is the biggest spender on the left. The Greater Wisconsin Committee, a liberal advocacy organization, has donated $1.5 million. Neil Sroka, press secretary of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told ABC News that his group "have joined up with another liberal activist group, Democracy for America, to spend $2 million in the state -- $1.5 million on television ads and $500,000 on grassroots work."
Literally the recall was Wisconsin's own mini economic stimulus for the duration of the fight.
Mother Jones reports there is additional undisclosed funds which went to the GOP side. There are also tales of election tampering pouring in.
This is for a State Senate seat mind you, where a national Senate campaign is about $6 million. Why this is so important is it's an early indicator of what will happen for Election 2012. These results also have strong implications for Wisconsin Tea Party Congressman Ryan. Ryan proposed cutting Medicare benefits through a voucher system and under the guise of budget cuts. Ryan, as are all Congress representatives, are up for re-election in 2012. The public reaction to Ryan's agenda was outright condemnation.
Another reason this recall is so important is it's big corporate money versus grassroots and organized labor. Can you really buy an election always, every time?
The answer seems so, if one reads the polls which show most side with organized labor. Yet when it comes to actual elections, once again, labor loses.