Dems hold seats, but Republicans keep majority in Wisconsin

Yesterday, Wisconsin residents held the last two of several recall actions against state lawmakers. The historic recall elections come after a divisive fight over collective bargaining rights and the controversial performance of the Republican led state legislature. Wisconsin residents sought to recall several Republican lawmakers in an election held earlier this month and last night’s elections went after two Democrats.

Republicans maintained their majority in the first round of recall elections. Democrats only gained two seats and needed three to overtake the Republican majority in the state Senate. In yesterday’s elections both Democrats retained their seats. The end result is a 17-16 vote Republican lead in the Senate.

Victories on either side will be short lived, however – the state just passed a redistricting measure that will redraw the boundaries of legislative districts. If the bill comes through without any further challenges, some recall winners may find themselves living outside of freshly won seats. These circumstances will result in another election with the potential for new faces on the ballot.

In the short run, Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin will likely find it more difficult to push through their agenda than they have in the past. With a single vote lead, party unity will be essential to avoid deadlock. There are some signals that Governor Walker is already aware of this, as his recent statements have hinted at making compromises. Governor Walker was considered vulnerable for recall if Democrats took a majority in the recent elections.