- Country singer Tim McGraw not sorry for slapping female fan: ‘Things happen’
- Iraq vet cited for owning 14 therapeutic pet ducks
- White House takes credit for drop in unaccompanied children at border
- International crises be damned, Obama’s fundraising trip must go on
- Friend of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev found guilty of impeding probe
- Train with MH17 plane crash bodies leaves rebel town in Ukraine
- Half of Colorado voters are OK with Hobby Lobby decision, poll shows
- HIV-killing condom to soon hit shelves in Australia
- Estonia pulls plug on Steven Seagal over praise for Putin
- Lawyer: Pelvic exam pics cost Hopkins $190 million
Next Wis. recall elections may not be so easy
Question of the Day
MILWAUKEE (AP) — The recall elections targeting Wisconsin lawmakers amid the bitter fallout from the state’s new collective-bargaining law began in lackluster fashion with a Democratic senator easily keeping his seat. But the other eight races may not be so easy, and the stakes are high.
If Democrats win five of those August races, they’ll retake control of the Wisconsin Senate and gain key momentum in their efforts to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker next year.
The recall elections stem from the controversial law Mr. Walker pushed earlier this year that strips most public workers of their collective-bargaining rights. The legislative fight over his plan attracted national attention — and tens of thousands of protesters to the state Capitol.
On Tuesday, Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen defeated Republican recall organizer David VanderLeest during the first of those elections with 66 percent of the vote. But unlike Mr. VanderLeest, who raised only $2,000 compared with Mr. Hansen’s $318,000, candidates challenging the other two Democrats and six Republicans facing recalls have far more money and party support.
“We did what we had to do,” said Mr. Hansen, whose 30th District covers much of Wisconsin’s northeastern corner. “The momentum has started.”
The Republican senators facing recalls were targeted for supporting Mr. Walker’s proposal, which eventually passed the GOP-controlled Legislature and survived a court challenge.
Mr. Hansen and the other two Democratic senators were targeted because they and their 11 Democratic colleagues fled Wisconsin for three weeks to stall a vote on the measure.
The state Democratic Party trumpeted Mr. Hansen’s win as a defeat for Mr. Walker’s agenda. State Republicans countered by congratulating the winners of the two GOP primaries Tuesday but didn’t mention the Hansen race.
The state Republican Party has hinted that it might dip into its own cash reserves to help candidates who emerge from the primaries. The party had $479,000 in the bank as of June 30, more than double the $193,000 reported by the Democrats.
Mr. VanderLeest was vulnerable not only because of Mr. Hansen’s major cash advantage, but because of a criminal record that included convictions in 2006 on two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct. After the election, Mr. VanderLeest said he was heartened by the outcome despite the loss, noting that he won 34 percent of the vote even though he ran on a shoestring budget.
“I’m actually feeling pretty good, considering how much I was outspent,” he told the Associated Press. “It shows how well my message was received.”
LaVonne Bray, a retired school worker from Green Bay, said she voted for Mr. Hansen because he took a difficult but principled stand. She said it was likely difficult for Democratic senators to leave the state for three weeks in order to stall a vote on Mr. Walker’s proposal.
“They gave state citizens time to understand what Republicans were pushing through without anyone really knowing what was going on,” the 60-year-old Ms. Bray said. “Dave Hansen has my full support.”
Dennis Arcand, a retired postal worker also from Green Bay, voted for Mr. VanderLeest, saying the candidate’s legal issues were overshadowed by his positions on the issues.
“I believe he’s on the right side of the issue of getting the budget under control,” said Mr. Arcand, 55. “I think Dave Hansen’s a good guy, but on collective bargaining and the budget, that’s why I voted for Mr. VanderLeest.”
TWT Video Picks
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- Edward Snowden to work with Russia on anti-spy technology
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
- More immigrants deported from New Mexico center
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
- Ron Paul: U.S. partly to blame for Malaysia Airlines disaster
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- Pro-Russia rebel commander suggests passengers died days before Malaysian flight
- Vladimir Putin pressured to aid Ukraine plane crash probe, rein in rebels
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq