Wisconsin voters in two Senate districts will head to the polls tomorrow to vote in recall efforts against two Democratic legislators who left the state seeking refuge in Illinois as a means to delay a vote on Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union bill, which strips public workers of most of their collective bargaining rights.
Last week, Democrats won in two of the six recall elections on Republican state senators, which was one shy of the three victories needed for Dems to take control of the Wisconsin Senate. Because of this, tomorrow's recall election will make less of a difference in the control of the Wisconsin state Senate and will instead act as more of an indicator of what the 2012 election cycle could look like as well as how a formal effort to recall Gov. Walker would be received by Wisconsin residents.
Tomorrow, Democrats Jim Holperin of Conover and Robert Wirch of Pleasant Prarie will defend their seats against Republican opponents. Analysts say it is likely that the incumbents will keep their jobs, although Holperin is facing a tougher race.
"As always in Wisconsin politics, one has to give the incumbent an edge," Mordecai Lee, governmental affairs professor at the University of Wisconsin, told Reuters. "It is likely the two Democratic incumbents will win their recalls -- but it is not a slam dunk."
Since tomorrow's election will have little effect on the Wisconsin state Senate, analysts predict that voter turnout could be low among Democrats, while the riled up Tea Party may head out in droves buoyed by pleasure in their role in the debt ceiling debate. Turnout and momentum tomorrow could have an impact on the potentail for a recall effort on Gov. Walker, which Wisconsin Democrats continue to say is an item on their to-do list.
Although the rceall effort didn't turn out exactly as planned by Democrats, it has been a historical moment in political history. Prior to the Wisconsin effort, there had only been 20 state-level recall elections in the nation's history. The rare occurence caused a tidal wave of political money to pour into the state and an estimated $37 million has been spent on the races. Analysts say the fervor swirling around Wisconsin's recall elections are likely to be indicative of what we can expect during the 2012 elections. According to Reuters:
With the recalls acting as somewhat of a rehearsal for 2012, experts say the spending could be a harbinger of record outlays next year.
"This is the first major election of 2012," said Joseph Heim, political science professor at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, "and one of the things we saw here was huge amounts of money."