We Are Wisconsin, a coalition of labor unions, was the top spender on the Democratic side, forking over nearly $8.8 million. Other big spenders among the Democrats were the Greater Wisconsin Committee, an advocacy organization, which accounted for about $1.5 million for the recall races, and the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state’s major teachers union, which spent about $500,000.
While other states, such as Ohio and Michigan, grapple with union concessions in a tight-budget era and conservatives describe themselves as energized over the Wisconsin wins, Mr. Franklin said Republicans cannot take for granted that anti-union measures are easy winners.
“For Republicans, they cannot coast to victory with a popular policy of cutting state union and employee benefits without encountering major blowback,” he said.
The fallout for both parties, however, will linger.
“I think reconciliation with the bases is going to be an incredibly hard thing to accomplish. The bases of both parties have been traumatized by this and are unlikely to get over it for a long time,” Mr. Franklin said.
• Jerry Seper contributed to this report.
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