Were the Wisconsin Recall Elections a Failure for Union Groups?

Can Wisconsin union leaders consider the recall results a success without capturing a senate majority?

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TJS bloggers Leslie Marshall and Peter Roff both had something to say about the Wisconsin recall elections that took place Tuesday. The races came after the uproar caused when Republican Gov. Scott Walker, supported by the Republican controlled state legislature, passed legislation to strip unions of many of their collective bargaining rights. Union groups launched an expensive and national-attention-grabbing campaign to remove some of the politicians responsible for the bill. Of the six Republican seats up for grabs Tuesday, four of the incumbents held on, leaving the GOP with a slim 17 to 16 majority in the Wisconsin Senate. [See photos of the Wisconsin protests.]

Roff declared the election a big loss for unions and a big win for the GOP, saying:

“[Unions] couldn't stop Walker from getting his reforms through. They failed in their effort to replace a conservative state supreme court justice with a liberal one to flip the ideological balance of the court before it had a chance to rule on whether Walker's reforms were constitutional. And, Tuesday, their effort to recall enough Republican state senators to flip control of the chamber back to the Democrats came up dry.”

Marshall meanwhile, though approving of the democratic spirit of the election, argued that working class voters should have elected union-friendly leaders in the first place. “Why can't we get it right the first time?” she asked.

Union groups in Wisconsin aren’t waving the white flag yet. The victory of Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen last month, the first of the nine recall elections scheduled for the summer, gave encouragement to the union movement, both in Wisconsin and in states where similar battles are being waged. They also must defend the seats of Sen. Jim Holperin and Sen. Robert Wirch, both Democrats who also face recall elections next week. Democratic leaders and union heads alike are still celebrating the results even without a Democratic senate majority, arguing that any recall victories at all are impressive considering there have only been 13 successful recalls in the state since 1913. They plan to also try to recall Governor Walker come the fall and maintain momentum heading into the 2012 elections.

What do you think? Do Wisconsin Republicans stand undefeated as they hold control of the state senate? Or were union efforts successful, even without gaining a majority? Take our poll and leave a comment below.

This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.

Previously: Was Al Gore Over the Top in His Rant on Climate Skeptics?