By Cynthia McCabe
In an unprecedented series of Wisconsin recall elections today, two Democratic challengers knocked off Republican state senate incumbents — a sign of continued citizen outrage over efforts by Gov. Scott Walker to effectively eliminate collective bargaining for public workers in that state.
Democrat Jennifer Shilling defeated Republican Sen. Dan Kapanke. Democrat Jessica King defeated Republican Sen. Randy Hopper. Two Democratic senators face recall elections next Tuesday.
The citizen-initiated recall elections came after Walker and conservative lawmakers rammed through legislation gutting public workers’ collective bargaining rights this past spring. Throughout the late winter, hundreds of thousands converged on the state capitol in Madison and in cities across the state in protest.
Today, grassroots progressive groups’ 12,000 volunteers knocked on 92,000 doors to get out the vote. Polling locations reported high turnout numbers, with some areas notching close to the traffic that came in during the previous presidential elections. A complete statement from the Wisconsin Education Association Council is below.
Although the two-seat pickup did not flip control of the Senate from Republican to Democratic control, Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council said the recall elections:
“Represent a movement to elect leaders who represent Wisconsin values. Across the state, citizens spoke up – and voiced their frustration at the direction this state has been heading under the leadership and extreme agenda of Scott Walker. Wisconsin deserves better – and high turnout across the state sends a loud wake-up call to the Wisconsin Legislature that the public is watching – and is concerned about the need to restore fairness and balance to the Legislature.”
“Flipping two Senate districts clearly indicates progress has been made – and that’s a credit to voters for helping Wisconsin take a strong step forward in the battle to uphold the middle class.”