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Dem survives first Wisconsin recall vote

MADISON, Wis., July 20 (UPI) -- Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen, one of nine Wisconsin state senators facing a recall election, survived his ballot test.

Hansen, who held the Senate seat since 2000, defeated Republican challenger, wind farm developer David VanderLeest of Green Bay in Tuesday's election, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wednesday.

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Meanwhile, a Tea Party activist and an attorney won Republican primaries, propelling them into general elections against the two other Democrats still facing recall elections.

Kim Simac, founder of the Northwoods Patriots, will face Sen. Jim Holperin in an Aug. 16 election. Corporate attorney Jonathan Steitz will oppose Sen. Robert Wirch, also Aug. 16.

The recalls against the Democrats are taking place at the same time as the recalls of six Republican senators. The final elections in the Republican districts are Aug. 9.

The recalls arose from the turmoil -- featuring protesters inside and outside the Capitol -- in Madison over Republican Gov. Scott Walker's initiative to curtail collective bargaining for public employees. Fourteen Democratic senators left the state in an unsuccessful effort to prevent a vote on the measure, which is the focal point for Republicans seeking to unseat them.

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If Democrats get a net gain of three Senate seats, they will regain the majority in the upper chamber, which the GOP controls 19-14.

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