By Robert Schlesinger |
The Wisconsin win for Scott Walker has caused a tidal wave of enthusiasm for Republicans who believe that Mitt Romney now has a real chance to beat President Obama in the state. Wisconsin hasn't gone Republican since the days of Ronald Reagan, but that could change this election year.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker won the recount vote last night against Tom Barrett by 53.2-46.3 percent. It was a devastating blow to Democrats who poured millions of dollars into defeating the Republican governor. One month ago, campaign manager Jim Messina had said Wisconsin was trending toward the president. Yesterday, he was listing Wisconsin as "undecided." This is concerning to Democrats because the Obama campaign has said it must win over Wisconsin in order to win re-election.
Worried about the results, Obama stayed away from the recall for fear of risking political capital. The campaign has used Wisconsin in every scenario for re-election. It will be interesting to see how Obama campaigns in a state he desperately needs in order to achieve 270 Electoral College votes.
Obama had a 51-44 percent edge over Romney in exit polling, and more Wisconsin voters said that the president would do a better job improving the economy and helping middle-class voters. However, independent voters, who made up a third of the recall electorate and typically decide close elections, voted for Walker 53-45 percent. The results of the recall make it clear that the Wisconsin Senate race will be very competitive for Democratic candidate Tammy Baldwin once the Republican primary is settled.
Democrats now privately acknowledge that Republicans have a strong financial and grass-roots ground game in the state. The millions spent by the unions to defeat Walker were overtaken by a divisive primary leaving Democratic voters frustrated. State Republicans are energized, and in a battleground state, this is an important asset. Invigorated state Republicans and independent voters siding with Scott Walker will make it a hotly contested state in November.
About Ron Bonjean Former Chief of Staff for the Senate Republican Conference
John M. O'Hara Author of 'A New American Tea Party'
James Sherk Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation
Douglas Schoen Democratic Campaign Consultant
Jamie Chandler Political Scientist at Hunter College
Karlyn Bowman Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute
Krystal Ball MSNBC Contributor and Former Democratic Nominee for Congress
Michael Kazin Author of 'American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation'