Eau Claire area political leaders react to Dems' senate win

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

MADISON/EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU, AP) -- A recount has concluded Democrat John Lehman defeated incumbent Republican Van Wanggaard in last month's state Senate recall races.

An official canvas following the June 5 elections showed Lehman leading Wanggaard by 834 votes out of nearly 72,000 ballots cast in Racine County's 21st Senate District.

A Lehman victory would give Democrats a one-seat majority in the Senate. Wanggaard requested a recount, but final tallies from the Racine County clerk's office Monday showed Lehman with 36,358 votes and Wanggaard with 35,539, a difference of 819 votes.

A Lehman win would hand Democrats a one-seat majority in the Senate. His victory isn't official until the state Government Accountability Board certifies the results and Wanggaard campaign officials have hinted they may challenge the final count in court, but party leaders in Eau Claire agreed, it's time to move on.

I hope Wangaard will accept the decision that's made at the end of the recount, and simply end things there," Eau Claire County Democratic Party spokesperson Beverly Wickstrom said.

"I don't think that continuing to legislate elections is a good thing. The people spoke, he lost," Eau Claire County Republican Party chair Brian Westrate said.

With Democrats gaining power of appointing committee chairs and picking which issues to discuss, senators from both parties disagreed on what impact the results currently have on the state.

"Any victory is a big victory," District 31 Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D) said.

"Control now isn't as important as it will be after the Nov. election," District 23 Sen. Terry Moulton (R) said.

"It will stop walker from doing the things he wants to do. He's gotta be held in check somehow," Patrick Eaton of Eau Claire said.

"With Democrats controlling the sen. The governor now has other voices that get to be heard," Jarek Holmes of Eau Claire said.

With more senate seats up for grabs in the Nov. election, voters and party leaders said they hope both sides can end the division brought on by the recall.

"I've always been able to work with the other side of the aisle. I'll continue to do that," Moulton said.

"It's time to move forward, and put election season behind us. And get to the business of our state," Vinehout said.


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