Continued from page 1

Mr. Tate, the Democratic Party chairman, said Wednesday that Democratic gains showed how vulnerable Mr. Walker is and that the recall effort would continue with the election taking place in November 2012, timed to coincide with expected high Democratic turnout in the presidential race.

Mr. Walker said he would “leave it up to the pundits to decide” what the recall elections meant for efforts targeting him, but he believed he ultimately will be judged on whether he can fulfill his campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs in the state over four years.

Four Republican senators held on to their seats Tuesday. They were Mr. Olsen and Sens. Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls, Rob Cowles of Allouez and Alberta Darling of River Hills. Two Republicans — Sens. Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac and Dan Kapanke of La Crosse — were defeated. Former Oshkosh Deputy Mayor Jessica King beat Mr. Hopper, and Democratic state Rep. Jennifer Shilling beat Mr. Kapanke.

A ninth senator, Democrat Dave Hansen of Green Bay, won his recall election last month.

Collectively, more than $31 million has been spent on the recalls, largely from outside conservative groups, unions and others.

Republican and Democratic strategists were leery of reading too much into the results heading into next year’s campaign, in which Wisconsin is expected to be a key swing state.

Democratic strategist Chris Lehane said that the results could provide “some early radar warnings” about the 2012 races and that he expects the conservatives “to fight back like an angry badger.”

Mr. Lehane said Wisconsin’s tumultuous year since November’s elections has been a microcosm of the current “roller coaster” era of U.S. politics.

Wisconsin voters had mixed emotions about the necessity of the recalls.

Wayne Boland, 41, a Whitefish Bay man who works in marketing for a medical equipment maker, said he voted for the Republican Ms. Darling “not because I entirely agree with everything the Republican Party has done or the governor” but because they’re working toward addressing the state’s problems.

Republicans won control of both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s office in the 2010 election just nine months ago.

Democrats had hoped enough wins in the recalls would have allowed them to block the Republican agenda, but the GOP will hold on to its majorities that have allowed Republicans to pass bills rapidly through the Legislature.

The elections also were watched closely in other states undergoing similar partisan battles.

A coalition of unions and labor-friendly groups fighting a Wisconsin-style collective bargaining overhaul in Ohio said the outcome of the recall elections will have little bearing on whether Ohio’s law is repealed this fall.

The effort in Wisconsin was about recalling specific Republicans who voted for the anti-union bill, while the push in Ohio is about repealing the law itself. That makes it difficult to compare the two states, said We Are Ohio spokeswoman Melissa Fazekas.

Story Continues →