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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dems Win a Big One in Wisconsin

Alright, Dems, don’t get too excited or overconfident. But state Sen. Dave Hansen’s victory in Wisconsin yesterday is a very good sign. Not only did Hansen get 66 percent of the vote to thwart a GOP-led effort to recall him in retaliation for Hansen’s fleeing the state to try and prevent Governor Walker’s union-bashing. But he did it in a fairly conservative district the GOP considered a prime target, and despite a healthy Republican turnout. A couple of graphs from Steve Contorno’s report in the Appleton Post-Crescent:

Hansen’s victory over a controversial candidate wasn’t a shocker. VanderLeest’s legal and financial troubles became the focus of his campaign, dragging down his bid even after he vowed not to discuss them anymore.
But the margin of victory and the turnout by voters were a first-round demonstration of the Democratic Party’s ground game going into August, when six Republicans and two more Democrats face recall elections with control of state government hanging in the balance….If Democrats can net three seats, they will win back the Senate and provide a check to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s virtually unchallenged agenda….

Contorno cautions, however,

Hansen’s victory may not be indicative of the rest of Wisconsin, where the eight remaining recall races are the first opportunity for voters to take decisive action for or against the direction Walker and Republicans have taken the state since January. That test will come Aug. 9 when six GOP senators face Democratic challengers followed by the Aug. 16 recall elections of Sens. Jim Holperin, D-Conover, and Robert Wirch, D-Pleasant Prairie.

The outcome of these recall elections could have a significant impact on the future of both the labor movement and the Democratic Party. Those who want to help are directed to ActBlue’s web pages for the Wisconsin recall.

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