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Lehman Declares Victory in Recall

At 2 a.m., Racine County posted full results online, supporting former Sen. John Lehman victory declaration at his election night party. Sen. Van Wanggaard, who was facing recall, sent everyone home an hour before Lehman's announcement.

Former Sen. John Lehman was the only Democrat on the recall ballots to declare victory. 

At 12:53 a.m., he dedicated his victory to all the hard work and hours of service from volunteers who led the recall efforts in the 21st Senate District, where they went after Sen. Van Wanggaard, who had defeated Lehman in November 2010. 

Lehman's closing remarks weren't all that different from the first time he spoke to supporters after his arrival around 9:30 pm at the Racine Labor Center.

"You worked so hard in the best interest of Wisconsin and for Racine County, not just for yourselves," he said. "Let's all take a little breather, take a little time with our families, who have supported us in our efforts, but then let's come back strong for the November elections."

The final vote totals were posted after 1:30 a.m., and by 2 a.m., district-wide unofficial results stood at:

  • Wanggaard: 35,476
  • Lehman: 36,255

This win gives Democrats control of the State Senate. Four state senators were under recall, and Wanggaard was the only one to not hang on to his seat. Still, the balance in both houses of the legislature could shift again this fall. Of the 33 senate seats, 16 are up for re-election and all 99 in the Assembly are up for grabs.

These results remain unofficial until they are certified.

About an hour before Lehman declared victory, Sen. Van Wanggaard told his supporters they could go home and that they would decide what their options were in the morning. 

"The numbers are so close," Wanggaard said. "We don't really know where we're at."

Lehman said he's not surprised by his opponent's reaction.

"I can see why he'd do that," he said. "The race comes down to less than 1,000 votes."

A group of about 50 supporters stuck it out until the end, crowding Lehman as he delivered the news. Loud cheer went up and people waved their "Lehman for Senate" signs, forming a circle around their candidate and the media.

"This wasn't an easy victory," he said. "But I'm excited about the new majority and getting back to an atmosphere of reasonableness that's been missing in Madison."

Lehman said he knew the balance of the legislature rode on this race, but always felt the Democrats had the best chance of winning of all the four senate recall races.

"Early polling numbers supported our chances here, and it turns out they were right," he added.

As for what Lehman plans to do tomorrow, he said he'll probably sleep in a bit and then ride around the 21st District to pick up yard signs.

"It feels good to win," he said. "It feels good to be done with the campaign."

William Eib June 07, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Wisconsin is the future the Oligarchs are banking on, a Governor and legisalture than can control, via the Koch's confabs and the Alec confrences, form which the devided and conquer method of Walker coam from. They need to get rid of any recourse and employee may have to earn a raise or beneifits. They want every last penny they can get out of the eoconomy, and the Liberasl and Unions stnd in their way. So they have discovered buying individuals states and get done what they want on a stale level it will eventually lead to the federal government. They did not anticipate a recall election, and it cost them dearly to save Walker a former corrupt lower level pol for whom they bought the Governor's seat in exchange for taking on the unions. Strange he never mentioned unions in his campaign but it was the first think on his agenda, or should I say the Koch/ALEC agenda.
dee50 June 08, 2012 at 01:24 AM
@Keith you wrote "The Republicans will take back control of the senate in November" What makes you so darn sure?.......Oh yeah, that's right all that Koch $ with those 20 second commercials that scatters the brains of those that do NO research of what they hear. Their masters have spoken!
William Eib June 08, 2012 at 04:53 AM
With all of the money that is going to pour into Wisconsin, Wisconsinites are going to think they are a country not state. The Koch's and Karl Rove are going to inundate the state with so many commercial the regulator broadcasting will begin looking like commercial breaks. This November is going to be the most embarrassing news item world wide, an embarrassing show of the obscene wealth in the hands of a few people is going to determine the future of the United States of America. It will effect the world economy, diplomacy, trade and everything else with world events. The signal the Right Wing sends to the world will but countries on the edges of their seats, waiting for war with Iran, surging oil prices and the increase of prices in goods due to the surge in oil prices. If the Right prevails the USA will act like a bunch of thugs who will walk extremely loudly and carry and enormous stick, although that stick has been exposed as weak by the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. I ran will be a major mistake if we attack it. It will destroy the economies of the Western World along with our own. Where is the money coming from? The narrow ideology of the right and the extremely narrow ideology of the uber wealthy are a major disaster knocking at the door of Democracy in the USA. They wish to starve people out of poverty and suck every last dime out of the economy. None of which will help the middle and working classes of America.
James R Hoffa June 08, 2012 at 05:11 AM
The over-the-top doom and gloom propaganda and rhetoric didn't help your side at all in the recall election. Why do you think it'll work for the November elections? Give it up already and get ready to move FORWARD with WALKER!!!
Keith Best June 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Yeah, Kloppenburg prematurely declared victory as well, and look how that worked out.

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