Yesterday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker survived the recall election. This now puts him in U.S. history as the first Governor to ever win a recall election. In 1921, North Dakota's Governor Lynn Frazier was removed due to a recall and Gov. Gray Davis of California was recalled in 2003.
Although exit polls showed a tighter race, Walker ended up with 54% of the vote to Democrat Mayor Tom Barrett’s 45%, with nearly all the precincts reporting, and he will finish out his term.
Walker, who won by a bigger margin than when he defeated Barrett in 2010, called for unity after a bitter, expensive battle.
The heated recall race began amid the controversy created when Walker released a state budget proposal that included limiting the collective bargaining rights for public union workers. In response, large demonstrations protesting Walker's plan took place at the state capital building which eventually led to a recall effort. After he attacked union clout, Walker’s opponents garnered 1 million signatures, far more than the 540,000 needed for a recall vote.
During his victory speech last night, he thanked his wife of 20 years who was with him on stage, his gorgeous looking sons who were also with him on stage, his parents and every resident of Wisconsin for their support. His running mate, now Lieutenant Governor, was Rebecca Kleefisch, a former television news reporter in Milwaukee was also on stage to thank the people of Wisconsin.
“The election is over. It’s time to move Wisconsin forward,” said Walker, who has been transformed from a little-known county executive into a rising GOP star in two short years.
Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, struck a less conciliatory tone, telling supporters to “remain engaged.”
“Tonight we tell Wisconsin, we tell our country and we tell people all across the globe that voters really do want leaders who stand up and make the tough decisions,” Walker said in his victory speech in Waukesha.
As expected, those voters who approved of Walker's policies voted overwhelmingly for the governor. Opponents of his policies backed Barrett, the Democrat.
Walker promised to create 250,000 private-sector jobs in Wisconsin by 2015. According to an April analysis by Politifact, 5,900 jobs have been created since Walker took office.
Wisconsin voters had strong opinions on the merit of recall elections. 60% told exit pollsters that recall elections are only appropriate when there has been official misconduct, and another 10% think such elections are never appropriate. Just 27% of Wisconsin voters supported holding recall elections for any reason.