On Tuesday, Wisconsin voters head to the polls in an election with national implications, and Scott Walker isn’t the only one facing the possibility of losing his seat.
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch also faces a recall election.
Following a contentious collective bargaining dispute in 2011, an effort began to recall Walker and Kleefisch. After examining petitions, the state's Government Accountability Board determined there are more than 800,000 valid signatures to hold a recall election.
Three Republican state senators also face recall votes Tuesday. In addition, voters will fill a fourth state Senate seat after the Republican incumbent resigned rather than face the recall.
The latest opinion polls have deemed the race too close call.
The recall is just the third to take place in U.S. history, highlighting the uniqueness of this vote.
The political spotlight is on Wisconsin, and it’s bound to be a wild race. Polls end at 8 p.m. EDT
PolicyMic will be following the election LIVE (click refresh to get up to the minute analysis ... Bookmark this page and visit throughout the night ... All times in EDT)
LIVE UPDATES: Wednesday 1245 PM Tom Barrett Gets Slapped in Wisconsin Recall Election (Literally):
She couldn’t take it anymore.
In what CNN described as “a real slap on the face for Democrats,” an indignant female supporter slapped Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett right after his concession speech at last night’s Wisconsin Recall Election in which Governor Scott Walker crushed his Democratic challenger.
It must have been the year long of partisan passions and emotions stirred on both sides of the aisle by politicians and the media, following the “Scott Walker vs. The Unions” saga: a costly and largely unnecessary election which would do little to bridge Wisconsin’s (or the country’s) divisions and in which too much was put at stake by too many people.
Perhaps, Barrett’s angry supporter was disappointed and confused as the news networks kept saying their exit polls were “too close to call” while their screens showed a sizable gap between the two candidates.
Even MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow seemed to admit that though her network had described the race as very close, big sister network NBC was getting ready to project Scott Walker as the winner. A sentiment echoed by colleague Ed Schultz who said that though NBC News would be projecting the Republicans as winners in Wisconsin, he thought the race was still “awfully closed.”
The point is that, while voters of an evenly divided state celebrated and lamented in turn the results of last night’s recall election, it is important to acknowledge that there are decent and hard working Americans on both sides of an issue, and that we must not get carried away by politicians and the media when they try to fan the flames of partisan politics.
10:45 PM Walker Crushes Barrett (a Recap of Tonight):
Embattled Republican Governor Scott Walker survived his Wisconsin recall election on Tuesday, defeating Democratic challenger Tom Barrett.
What was shocking was how dominating Walker’s win was.
The race was widely expected to be tight — most media outlets and analysts repeatedly used “too close to call” when referring to the vote, even after polls had closed and results came pouring in.
But Walker beat his challenger by almost 20% of the vote. With only 30% of polls reporting an hour after state-wide polls had closed, Walker was declared the projected winner.
Walker and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch will retain their posts in Wisconsin.
The basis for the recall was anti-collective bargaining (aka anti-union) legislation that Walker helped pass in early 2011. Anger over Walker and his hyper-conservative, Tea Party agenda began building almost as soon as he took office in January 2011. Just a month into his term, Walker proposed to effectively end collective bargaining (union) rights for most state workers, setting off a fire storm of protests. The recall idea emerged soon thereafter.
Barrett – the mayor of Milwaukee — entered into the race. Walker had originally defeated Barrett in the 2010 governor election.
In the lead up to the election, polls had said that Walker was in the lead, but only by a slim margin. As polls in the state closed at 8 p.m., the New York Times reported a dead-even race, hinting that the results process could go deep into the night.
But Walker surged early, and with just 12% of polls reporting had already taken a 60% to 39% lead.
Barrett won the state capital Madison ... but the Milwaukee mayor lost his own city to Walker.
Exit polls show that nearly 9 out of 10 voters already had their minds made up by May 1. The massive surge of cash and campaigning by both Barrett and Walker likely made little difference.
Turnout was massive. A Madison city clerk had told a Wisconsin radio host that turnout for the area is expected at over 100%, up to 119%.
Democrats and organized labor had spent millions to oust Walker, but found themselves hopelessly outspent by Republicans from across the country who donated record-setting sums to Walker. The race was the costliest in state history. More than $66 million was spent on the race as of May 21.
Republicans, of course, hope the victory carries over into the November general election between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.
So what was all the fuss about? Walker had tried to neutralize the ability of state unions and their collective bargaining strategies. Collective bargaining is a process of negotiations between employers and a group of employees aimed at reaching agreements that regulate working conditions. In politics, a conservative stance views the collective bargaining tactics of state unions (i.e. police, health care, state employees) as counter to free market principles. These collective bargaining tactics cheat taxpayers, the conservative thought goes, as they artificially inflate salaries and prices, which citizens then unjustly pay for.
Political unions contend that they exist to protect workers' writers. Wealthy "bosses" can no longer manipulate citizens or their salaries.
10 PM Breaking: Walker and Kleefisch the projected winner of the Wisconsin recall.
9:52 PM With 20% of polls reporting, Kleefisch up against Mahlon Mitchell 60% to 40%.
9:40 PM Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said Tuesday night the election is in "the voter's hands" and said she was optimistic about the outcome.
She and her family are watching the results at the Waukesha County Expo Center. She said she brought coloring books for her two daughters.
9:25 PM With 1% of polls reporting, Walker up 54% to 45%.
9:19 PM With less than 1% of polls reporting, Scott Walker has taken and early lead over Tom Barrett, 57% to 42%.
9:13 PM According to exit polls, nearly 4 in 10 voters in preliminary exit polls say they support the Tea Party movement, about as many oppose it, and a quarter are neutral. Tea Party opposition is slightly up from the 2010 election.
9:07 PM Exit polls show that nearly 9 out of 10 voters already had their minds made up by May 1. The massive surge of cash and campaigning by both Barrett and Walker likely made little difference.
9:05 PM The New York Times is reporting that their exit polls are showing a dead-even race, 50-50 for both candidates. There will be a razor-sharp margin of victory for the winner.
9 PM Polls are now closed in Wisconsin.
8:57 PM Rebecca Kleefisch, the Wisconsin Lt. Governor, is also facing a tough recall battle on Tuesday. We'll be monitoring her status tonight as well.
8:51 PM Heavy Turnout has been reported by a number of media outlets (though officials numbers have yet to be released).
Who is she? Kleefisch is a former TV news anchor, turned American politician, and is currently serving as the44th Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin. She was elected to the position on November 2, 2010, as the running mate of Republican Governor Scott Walker