Walker survives recall election

By: AP and WEAU 13 News Staff Email
By: AP and WEAU 13 News Staff Email

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker, fresh from becoming the nation's first governor to survive a recall election, wants to go about mending Wisconsin's political divide in an egalitarian way: over brats and beer.

Walker defeated Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Tuesday for the second time in year and a half, turning back a recall effort that began with the collection of more than 900,000 signatures seeking his ouster. It was only the third gubernatorial recall in U.S. history.

Now the rising Republican star is focusing his message on what lies ahead. His term runs through 2014 in a state that is still bitterly divided over his move to end collective bargaining rights for most public employees.

"It's time to put our differences aside and find ways to work together to move Wisconsin forward," Walker said in an interview minutes after his victory. "I think it's important to fix things, but it's also important to make sure we talk about it and involve people in the process."

Walker planned to invite all members of the Legislature to meet as soon as next week over burgers, brats and "maybe a little bit of good Wisconsin beer."

"The first step is just bringing people together and figuring out some way if we can thaw the ice," he said.

Democrats, including Barrett, pledged to work together too. But the wounds are deep following the rancor of the recall, which was spurred by Walker's surprise proposal to go after public employee unions.

"It is up to all of us, their side and our side, to listen. To listen to each other," Barrett said.

State Rep. Peter Barca, Democratic minority leader in the Assembly, said healing Wisconsin won't be easy.

"I hope Gov. Walker understands and stays true to his pledge to build consensus and be more inclusive going forward," Barca said.

With nearly all precincts reporting, Walker had 53 percent of the vote, compared with 46 percent for Barrett. The margin of victory was wider than many expected and slightly better than Walker's 5.8 percentage-point victory over Barrett in the 2010 race. Some 2.5 million voters cast their ballots.

Democrats and organized labor spent millions to remove Walker, but found themselves hopelessly outspent by Republicans from across the country who donated record-setting sums to the governor's campaign.

Walker's win sets the stage for what is expected to be a hard-fought presidential battle.

Both sides in the presidential contest warned against reading too much into Tuesday's results, but Walker's solid victory is a warning for President Barack Obama in a state he comfortably carried in 2008 and that Democrats have won in six straight presidential elections. Romney has reason to be optimistic, given Walker's own vigorous ground game, the framework of which he will inherit.

Still, Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate showed no remorse for pursuing the recall, which was pushed by powerful union leaders and citizens with little or no political experience.

"This is a fight worth having," Tate said. "Some things are worth losing over."

Walker entered the national spotlight last year when he unveiled plans to plug a $3.6 billion budget shortfall in part by taking away the union rights of most public workers and requiring them to pay more for their health insurance and pension benefits. It was one of his first moves in office, and it was explosive.

Democrats and labor leaders saw it as a political tactic designed to gut the power of his opposition. State Senate Democrats left Wisconsin for three weeks to avoid a vote on the measure, as tens of thousands of teachers, state workers and others rallied at the Capitol in protest.

But the tea-party-supported fiscal conservative remained steadfast. Walker believed his plan would help him control the state budget, and his opponents could not stop Republicans who control the state Legislature from approving his plans.

Walker went on to sign into law several other measures that fueled the recall; he repealed a law giving discrimination victims more ways to sue for damages, made deep cuts to public schools and higher education, and required voters to show photo identification at the polls.

Both sides mobilized thousands of people and millions of dollars to influence voters, whom polls showed were more divided than ever. Signs calling for Walker's removal and those supporting the 44-year-old son of a minister dotted the state's landscape all spring at a time normally devoid of political contests.

More than $66 million was spent on the race as of May 21, making it easily the most expensive in Wisconsin history. That money was spent on an all-out barrage of television ads, direct mail, automated calls and other advertising that permeated the state for months.

Also Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and at least three Republicans in state Senate races survived recalls. Unofficial results showed the Democrat ahead in the other Senate race, the outcome of which will determine which party controls the Senate at least through the end of the year.

Walker avoided gloating in his speech and offered his adversaries a fresh start.

"Now it is time to move on and move forward in Wisconsin," Walker said in his speech. "Tomorrow is the day after the election, and tomorrow we are no longer opponents."

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has survived a recall election, defeating the Democratic mayor of Milwaukee to keep the state's top political job.

Walker becomes the first governor in American history to stay in office after a recall challenge.

The Republican governor rose to national prominence last year after taking on public-sector unions shortly after being sworn in. That fight also triggered the recall and set up a rematch with Tom Barrett, who was defeated by Walker in 2010.

Walker argued his policies were necessary to confront the state's budget problems.

The loss is a blow to Democrats and to unions that spent millions to oust Walker.


WASHINGTON – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus released the following statement congratulating Governor Scott Walker:

“I congratulate Gov. Scott Walker momentous victory in Wisconsin tonight, and I congratulate the people of my home state in defeating the selfish special interests that wanted to take Wisconsin back to the days of Democrats’ failed policies,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

“Wisconsin has given their stamp of approval to Gov. Walker’s successful reforms that balanced the budget, put people back to work, and put government back on the side of the people.

“After tonight’s results, Democrats and the Obama campaign are surely nervous. As Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, this election was a ‘dry run’ for the presidential election. But after President Obama actively avoided Wisconsin and Tom Barrett, one of his earliest supporters, it is hard to imagine how he can now come back to Wisconsin and credibly ask for his party’s support in November. The president abandoned his base in this recall, so he shouldn’t be surprised if they return the favor in November.

“Wisconsin Democrats now head into November dispirited and in disarray, while Republicans remain strong and organized, with momentum on our side.”


Boston, MA – Mitt Romney made the following statement on Governor Scott Walker’s victory in the today’s Wisconsin recall election:

“I congratulate Scott Walker on his victory in Wisconsin. Governor Walker has demonstrated over the past year what sound fiscal policies can do to turn an economy around, and I believe that in November voters across the country will demonstrate that they want the same in Washington, D.C. Tonight’s results will echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin. Governor Walker has shown that citizens and taxpayers can fight back – and prevail – against the runaway government costs imposed by labor bosses. Tonight voters said ‘no’ to the tired, liberal ideas of yesterday, and ‘yes’ to fiscal responsibility and a new direction. I look forward to working with Governor Walker to help build a better, brighter future for all Americans.”

Statement by Tommy Thompson on Today's Victory by Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans:

[Madison, WI...] Today Wisconsin made a choice...a choice to keep our state moving forward. I extend my appreciation and congratulations to my good friend Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and the recalled state senators on tonight's victory.

We are celebrating a victory for not only Gov. Walker, Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and the state senators who emerged from the attempted recall, but the great state of Wisconsin. Gov. Walker and his colleagues made tough choices that put our state back on the right track, they stood by the choices they made and tonight's election reaffirms the belief in the direction we're heading.

Tonight we defeated out-of-state special interests and a return to out-of-control government spending--delivering a win for balanced budgets, job growth and local schools and governments seeking to maintain control of their own finances.
OFA-Wisconsin statement on tonight’s Governor’s race

"While tonight’s outcome was not what we had hoped for – no one can dispute the strong message sent to Governor Walker. Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites from all walks of life took a stand against the politics of division and against the flood of secret and corporate money spent on behalf of Scott Walker, which amounted to a massive spending gap of more than $31 million to $4 million. It is a testament to all of those individuals who talked to their friends, neighbors, and colleagues about the stakes in this election of how close this contest was. The power of Wisconsin’s progressive, grassroots tradition was clearly on display throughout the run up to this election and we will continue to work together to ensure a brighter future for Wisconsin’s middle class. This vision was shared by the voters tonight, as exit polling showed President Obama beating Mitt Romney 52-43, a 9-point difference. On the questions of who would do a better job on the economy and who would help the middle class the most, President Obama again held a strong advantage over Romney. These data points clearly demonstrate a very steep pathway for Mitt Romney to recover in the state.”

---- Tripp Wellde, State Director, OFA-Wisconsin

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  • by krb Location: Chippewa Falls on Jun 7, 2012 at 08:22 PM
    I'm still hoping to see him in a jumpsuit and handcuffs:)
  • by Karen on Jun 6, 2012 at 06:34 PM
    Yelling Hitler and Hitlers sign referring to our States Governor was a big mistake for teachers. Their image is tarnished for decades.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 7, 2012 at 06:21 PM in reply to Karen
      They are thugs after all.
  • by Jeff Pleasant Valley on Jun 6, 2012 at 06:22 PM
    Thank you so much voters for coming through for my children and future generations of Americans. We can hope the Democratic party will return to the roots of Thomas Jefferson. Small govt and every generation should pay it's own debt. No where did Jefferson ever mention the idea of unions of any type. Independents wait the rejection of union and union money control of the party of Jefferson.
    • reply
      by Jay on Jun 7, 2012 at 08:32 AM in reply to Jeff Pleasant Valley
      Jefferson never mentioned anything about quantum physics. Do you know why ?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 7, 2012 at 06:22 PM in reply to Jeff Pleasant Valley
      Thank you to my children for casting votes against this tyrant.
  • by walker for president Location: eau claire on Jun 6, 2012 at 03:11 PM
    what walker did was amazing!!! we need himto run this country put it back on the map with his outside of the box thinking..daring to tackle sensitive subjects move forward..public federal employees need to understand they work for us the majority (public)times are tough us public have to pay more tighten our belts so they can to.. ford employees the only ones that did not take gov money did :) only public employees i see that deserve there money and benis are police fire courts
    • reply
      by Scott on Jun 6, 2012 at 04:41 PM in reply to walker for president
      Laughing, you really think anyone would take him serious for President? Gov. Walker has been caught minimum of three times in lies to the Federal government and had to retract what he said. Along with getting his hand slapped a couple of times for doing things he was not allowed to do. But as President I just do not think he could stand up to the microscope he would be put under. Yes he won again, yes he added a whole 2 more percent to his win versus last time. I do find it odd that Walker and Kleefish have different vote totals by a large amount. I think public employees know they work for the public the problem I see is politicians who do not realize they work for the people and themselves should see massive cuts in pay and benefits.
      • reply
        by Mr Tom on Jun 7, 2012 at 05:57 AM in reply to Scott
        Scott, my guess the reason that there is some difference in the vote totals is because a significant number of voters that don't normally get involved politically, voted, mainly due to the distaste for the recall. They probably didn't know who Lt. Gov. Kleefisch was since almost all the focus was on Gov. Walker. Along the same lines as Rep. Pelosi passing the health care bill without reading it first. You know, attention to details was a bit lacking!
      • reply
        by d on Jun 7, 2012 at 03:05 PM in reply to Scott
        Oh gee, I guess the libs NEVER LIE? Get real, all politicians lie.
  • by concerned Location: eau claire on Jun 6, 2012 at 03:08 PM
    Everyone expects someone is going to wave a magic wand after they are elected and poof, it's going to be as they promised. Every single governor or president simply blaimes it on the last administration and nothing gets done. Well guess what, this guy did something. The budget is repared. It effected some but those people have had the gravy train way too long anyway. There is no magic wand. Only direct action finally. Gone soon will be the days of being almost impossible to fire people for poor performance. No more hiding behind some union official to keep your job. GO WALKER!!!!!
    • reply
      by Scott on Jun 6, 2012 at 04:43 PM in reply to concerned
      Yes it effected some but had he spread the cuts to a greater amount of the public everyone could have shared the burden instead of a relatively small few.
      • reply
        by David on Jun 8, 2012 at 06:52 AM in reply to Scott
        Perhaps the "relatively small few" that were affected were those who have not been sharing the burden? I've been 'sharing' my whole taxpaying life. I've shared enough.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jun 8, 2012 at 12:30 PM in reply to David
          And that right there is the crux of the Tea Party mentality. "I'm done paying, let somebody else pay". Except when it's a service or entitlement that YOU want to use. What makes you think these other people haven't been paying in their whole lives too?
  • by anonymous Location: Eau Claire on Jun 6, 2012 at 02:13 PM
    Maybe teachers and others will move out of state to get better jobs. Its too bad it has to be this way. What is this world coming to. Its not going to get any better. I think there is more to come. Last time he stripped bargaining rights after election now what is he going to do
    • reply
      by concerned on Jun 7, 2012 at 04:13 PM in reply to anonymous
      This is a milestone victory. There will soon be no other state for them to run and cry to. Other states will soon see what a great repair this has been to our budget and follow suit. GO WALKER!!!!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jun 7, 2012 at 05:35 PM in reply to concerned
    • reply
      by UNION EMP on Jun 8, 2012 at 03:07 AM in reply to anonymous
      I am happy with Walker! Hope he goes after welfare next!!! That has been an abused for far to long!!!
  • by ttt Location: ec on Jun 6, 2012 at 01:27 PM
    Who are we recalling next santa clause?
  • by eau claire Location: eau claire on Jun 6, 2012 at 12:55 PM
    Did anyone read the paper or watch the news,walker won!!! The end!!!! Trying to figure out why people are still complaining! !!!
    • reply
      by Scott on Jun 6, 2012 at 04:50 PM in reply to eau claire
      The simplest answer is the 1st amendment. But really it is because 46% of the state put in a great effort to get rid of a Governor that they could not support. We failed so yes we are a bit bummed and probably a little bitter about the outcome. So of course we are going to still complain the same way those 53% that did want to keep Walker will be bummed out and bitter if he is charged in the John Doe investigation.
      • reply
        by Mr. Tom on Jun 7, 2012 at 06:16 AM in reply to Scott
        And here in, is the difference between the conservatives (adults) and the liberals (children), If Govenor Walker is found to have done something illegal, we will ensure he is disciplined appropriately, versus lets say, a John Edwards or a Clinton type fellow that looks directly into the hearts of his fellow citizens and LIES!! These are some of the reasons I became a conservative, liberals can rationalize any untruth in their eyes to become a truth. But like most good citizens, and I'm sure you as well, I don't want to have someone convicted before they are even charged/tried in the judicial system. I tend to not judge until at least a good portion/all of the facts are found to be facts rather than innuendos.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jun 7, 2012 at 08:42 AM in reply to Mr. Tom
          Sure you will. If Walker is charged, all we'll hear from your side it that it's a frame-up, or that he did nothing wrong. I remember how many conservatives were calling for Oabama's birth certificate, or to have Clinton impeached.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jun 7, 2012 at 05:39 PM in reply to Mr. Tom
          I would say you are pointing out similarities not differences. Any citizen who believes a politician doesnt lie is fooling themselves.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jun 7, 2012 at 08:43 PM in reply to Mr. Tom
          Let me guess...you're one of those "open minded" hillbillies who still wants to see our Presidents birth certificate. You know...you "adult" conservatives.
      • reply
        by d on Jun 7, 2012 at 04:22 PM in reply to Scott
        to Anonymous-You seem to have a big issue with generalizing, lets face it, Obama has issues, and Clinton stared us in the face and out right lied. Its okay for them to have issues and not be held accountable, but with Walker its different? There was NO LEGAL reason for this recall, it was caused because the libs lost and they couldn't or wouldn't deal with it. Instead they swarm the capital and use students to do their dirty work. Double standards as usual with you libs.
        • reply
          by b.s. on Jun 8, 2012 at 09:04 AM in reply to d
          You hit on some dumb, lazy, right wing stereotypes yourself. You left out lying to the American people about weapons of mass destruction. Of course it was "your guy" so you can selectevely skim past that one. How did anyone use students to do their dirty work? Still waiting for proof on that scary headline. Fox tactic...throw out untrue, overused lies and half truths, then pass it off as respectable debate. Double standards as usual with you dime a dozen red staters.
  • by Disappointed on Jun 6, 2012 at 11:51 AM
    It's really hard to support someone who thinks women are not equal to men...I'm really interested as to why ANY woman would vote for some one like this. I'm sure our ancestors who fought for us to have equal rights are rolling in their graves. Very disappointed.
    • reply
      by JR on Jun 6, 2012 at 02:52 PM in reply to Disappointed
      Where do you get that idea from? The Union lies? He did not remove any equal pay rights.. It's Federal and State law. He removed 1 of 2 ways to fight unequal pay claims in the state, the state circuit court is no longer a option, cases can only be herd in federal court now...
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jun 7, 2012 at 05:40 PM in reply to JR
        Bet that is an easier route isn't it?
  • by Packers2013 Location: Boyd on Jun 6, 2012 at 10:31 AM
    For sure the Packers are going all the way this year! Go Pack Go!
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