In final Wisconsin recall, signs of a national tea party backlash?
Wisconsin will hold its final two recall elections Tuesday amid signs that the bellwether state might be swinging back left after jumping on the tea party bandwagon in 2010.
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But with Democrats in the hot seat this week, the debate is also focusing on Democratic senators' out-of-state exodus in February to stall voting on Governor Walker’s collective-bargaining bill – an action that Mr. Steitz is calling “a dereliction of duty.”Skip to next paragraph
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“I can understand if they were gone for a few days, but they were away three weeks. We can’t run government like that,” he told an ABC affiliate in Milwaukee Sunday.
On the same program, Senator Wirch defended the temporary move to Illinois, saying he and his fellow 13 senators never expected to stop the Walker agenda. They were “simply trying to educate the public by drawing out the process,” he said.
Walker was criticized at the time for trying to push through the bill in three days with scant public input, an action he has recently suggested he regrets.
The Holperin race is being viewed as more competitive than the Wirch race, based on spending. To date, the Holperin race has generated $4.5 million for both sides, more than double than the $2.3 million spent in the Wirch race, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a Madison-based watchdog group that tracks election spending.
So far, both Democrats have double-digit leads over their challengers in most polls. For example, Senator Holperin is leading Ms. Simac, 55 to 41 percent, and Wirch leads Steitz, 55 to 42 percent, according to a poll by Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh, N.C., polling firm that often works for Democrats.
Another poll, by We Ask America, a conservative leaning polling firm in Springfield, Ill., reports Holperin leading Simac, 51 to 49 percent. The organization did not have polling results for the Wirch race.
If Tuesday produces a win for both Democrats, Wisconsin will tilt further toward the color purple, as opposed to red, the result of the November 2010 midterm elections, which swept a large majority of Republicans into each legislative branch.
A Gallup poll released last week reports that 45 percent of Wisconsinites say they are Democrats and 40 percent say they are Republicans, a finding that is nearly identical to the national result in the same poll. Voting was based on a random sample of 177,600 adults in all 50 states.
With the electorate split roughly down the middle, Wisconsin is a state that political scientists are watching closely.
Even though state voters easily handed a win to Barack Obama in 2008, it wasn’t the case for Democratic challengers in the 2000 or 2004 presidential election cycles, who eked out narrow victories over George W. Bush in the state. With the recent midterm elections going to Republicans, McAdams says the stage is set for another swing toward the left.