Wisconsin Senate stays in Republican hands

Protesters outside the Wisconsin State Capitol on March 11, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin. UPI/David Banks
Protesters outside the Wisconsin State Capitol on March 11, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin. UPI/David Banks | License Photo

MADISON, Wis., Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Republicans retained control of the Wisconsin state Senate early Wednesday, successfully defending four seats in the broadest recall effort in state history.

Republican state Sens. Robert Cowles of Green Bay, Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls and Luther Olsen of Ripon survived the recall, beating Democratic challengers.


Incumbent Republican Alberta Darling of River Hills, co-chairwoman of the Legislature's powerful budget committee, defeated Democratic state Rep. Sandy Pasch of Whitefish Bay in a squeaker resolved in the Republicans' favor early Wednesday morning.

With 99 percent of the vote counted, Darling beat Pasch 54 percent to 46 percent.

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Democrats picked up two Senate seats, with Oshkosh Deputy Mayor Jessica King defeating incumbent Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac and state Rep. Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse defeating incumbent Dan Kapanke of French Island.

"The revolution has not occurred," University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee political science Professor Mordecai Lee, a former Democratic lawmaker, told the Wisconsin State Journal.

"The proletariat did not take over the streets," he said.

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The elections were fueled by anger that split the state after GOP Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers took over control of the government this year and pursued an aggressive agenda that included stripping most collective-bargaining rights for most public workers. Walker and lawmakers said the cuts were needed to help close the state's budget gap.


At stake Tuesday was control of the state Senate.

Republicans controlled the Senate 19-14, so Democrats needed to win at least three seats and hold onto two more in recall elections next week to take over.

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One Democratic incumbent won his recall election last month.

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