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Lehman Takes 21st Senate District; Wanggaard Recount Decision Due Friday

Former Sen. John Lehman has been officially announced as the winner of the 21st Senate District recall election, but Republican incumbent Van Wanggaard isn't about to concede.

Democrat John Lehman has officially unseated Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) in the 21st District recall election that will determine the makeup of Wisconsin's state Senate.

The Racine County Board of Canvassers met Tuesday morning to certify the results of the June 5 election and found that not only did Lehman win, but he also increased his margin of victory by 55 votes.

Wanggaard has yet to concede and campaign officials say they have received allegations of voter fraud voting irregularities. However, County Clerk Wendy Christensen told FOX 6 News that she was not aware of any problems at the polling places on election day.

Mike Haas, general counsel for the state Government Accountability Board, said the agency has received some phone calls, emails, and copies of blog posts alleging fraud but nothing formal.

"We've not received any formal complaints with specific facts," said Haas, whose agency oversees elections in Wisconsin. "We tell people that, of course, we want to know about any potential fraud, but these cases are prosecuted by the district attorney, so local law enforcement should be notified."

The official results show Lehman defeating Van Wanggaard by 834 votes, which is up from the 779-vote margin of victory reported on election night. The final tally has Lehman with 36,351 votes and Wanggaard with 35,517.

During the canvassing process, about 20 people from the Wanggaard and Lehman campaigns watched as the votes were being re-tallied. Some even kept tallies on their own as they filled out the sheets as the numbers were being announced from each ward.

“Thank you to all the election workers – especially our hard working clerks and poll workers throughout Racine County,” Lehman said in a press release.  “After today’s canvass, we are even more confident in our victory. I look forward to getting to work in Madison and focusing on new jobs for Racine County residents.”

With the victory, Democrats will have a 17-16 majority in the state Senate.

“People here wanted a new voice and this just goes to show that the voters in the 21st Senate District wanted new leadership and it’s time for Sen. Wanggaard to concede and to have a new leader, Senator-elect Lehman,” Lehman campaign manager Brad Wojciechowski said. “This is a 50-50 district, people like there representatives to be a voice for the people and that’s what we’re seeing with Senator-elect Lehman.”

Despite the outcome, Justin Phillips, Wanggaard's campaign manager, said the senator is still considering a recount and will make a decision on Friday. Because the difference is more than a half percent, any recount would have to be paid by the candidate that asked for it.

“We owe it to the county, everyone in the 21st Senate District and everyone in the state to determine whether we are going to move forward with a recount,” Phillips said. “We’ve had a number of people come forward that have asked us to do it — a number of people in the district, state and countrywide — so that is an option we are looking into.”

Dan Romportl, executive director of the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, supported Phillips:

The Wanggaard campaign will be considering its options regarding a recount over the coming days, and will make an announcement on its plans by the end of the week. CERS and the Wanggaard campaign have no further comment at this time.

But state Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate said Wanggaard would just be wasting time and money:

Given that Sen. John Lehman has picked up more votes during the county canvass — increasing his lead by 55 more to 834 votes over Sen. Van Wanggaard — we believe that Wanggaard should call off the recount process and move on as soon as possible for the residents of Racine's 21st Senate district. An increase in votes for Sen. Lehman makes it clear he has rightfully won and should begin representing those who elected him without further futile delays.

morninmist June 13, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Even the GOP MSJ is using their brains! http://politiscoop.com/us-politics/wisconsin-politics/1451-milwaukee-journal-sentinel-calls-on-wanggaard-to-concede.html Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Calls on Wanggaard to Concede Created on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 07:23 Madison - Conservative Newspaper, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board calls on Senator Van Wanggaard to concede. The MJS said: Van Wanggaard should end the suspense now and concede the race to Lehman. Racine County election officials said Tuesday that the official canvas has Lehman winning by 834 votes; it seems unlikely that a recount will change that number substantially.....
mau June 13, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Democrat frivolous recounts = good Republican frivolous recounts = bad Why is it when a Republican contemplates a recount is is unacceptable. But if a Democrat does it's acceptable. Go for a recount Van, so that they can see how many felons were able to vote. Those absentee ballots and same day registrations need to be scrutinized.
Randy1949 June 13, 2012 at 07:07 PM
@Mau -- My understanding is that the margin of victory in the Lehman/Wanggaard election exceeds the percentage for which the taxpayers will pay for a recount. Which makes it more frivolous than the Prosser/Kloppenburg recount. If your guy wants to spend his own money, that's his decision. To me it looks like a delaying tactic because the GOP is so afraid of losing control of the state senate.
Stormy Weather June 13, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Do the recount... The cost is pennies compared to what liberals have cost our state!
robert heule June 13, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Mau, Why don't you lobby for repeal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965?
Geoff Tolley June 13, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Randy, your understanding is correct: for the recount to be done at taxpayer expense, the original result has to be within 0.5%, which it was in the 2011 Supreme Court race but not here (see https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/9/01/1/ag/1). In that race there was a demonstrated inability to do basic checks of the results on the part of one of the County Clerks.
mau June 13, 2012 at 07:40 PM
It's funny that if Van does it it's frivolous. But if a (one) liberal Dane County judge puts a law on hold it's not. I have no problem with Van paying for it. Unlike the democrats who want the taxpayers to pay for everything including this $$$$$$ recall.
mau June 13, 2012 at 07:44 PM
I agree. The democrats are always saying there are no voting irregularities. This would be the way to prove it.
James R Hoffa June 13, 2012 at 08:01 PM
A recount is just a recount, it won't investigate and expose any kind of fraud that was or wasn't committed in this election. Nor will it have the effect of flipping the results, as the previous Kloppy/Prosser and Nielsen/Boyle recounts would appear to indicate. Thus, I recommend that Van take the higher road here and concede the election. However, a formal complaint should be filed with the GAB and an investigation conducted into the same day registrations and absentee ballots to definitely find out if voter fraud is occurring, and if so, at what level. I would think that is something that everyone would be in favor of, as fair elections are in everyone's benefit - especially with November being right around the corner! If there is no fraud found, it would restore faith in the integrity of our elections here. But if there is fraud found, it will allow us to implement new safeguards to prevent and/or minimize such activity before November.
Randy1949 June 13, 2012 at 09:45 PM
@mau -- It's the law. Do you have a problem with the way the laws are written? I'm sure your Governor and your state legislators will be happy to change the laws for you. Just not right now.
mau June 13, 2012 at 09:53 PM
@Randy, my my my. OUR Governor and OUR Legislatures. By all the comments I see on here there are a lot of people on both sides who want laws changed. Including you. I can't wait until Voter ID is enacted again.
Randy1949 June 13, 2012 at 11:14 PM
My point, Mau, is that the GOP is mostly in control for the near future. As for Voter ID, there's a little problem with it being possibly unconstitutional. If they want to modify it to keep it in tune with the Wisconsin Constitution, that would be another thing.
morninmist June 14, 2012 at 01:29 AM
YUP! @Progress2day Democurmudgeon: Racine County Republicans biggest friggin’ whiners... http://democurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2012/06/racine-county-republicans-biggest.html?spref=tw
James R Hoffa June 14, 2012 at 02:00 AM
@morninmist - That is one of the stupidest things that you've ever posted. Why not just link to the original Patch article instead of some lefty-liberal blog that offers no insight beyond the scope of the story itself? http://mountpleasant.patch.com/articles/did-redistricting-disenfranchise-voters-in-the-new-21st-senate-district There's actually a pretty good debate going on over on that board.
morninmist June 14, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Welcome Senator Lehman. ,,,What was truly ironic about Lehman’s win, against overwhelming odds, was that it returned to the Senate one of the chamber’s most ardent advocates for organized labor. After a year of wrangling over labor rights in Wisconsin, there were plenty of pundits who could not wait to claim that the Wisconsin recall results were “proof positive” that the union movement was finished politically. There’s no question that labor took its hits on June 5. There’s no question that labor needs to learn profound lessons — about framing debates, choosing candidates and building broader coalitions. But, when all was said and done, the Democrat who won a critical recall contest, the Democrat who flipped control of the state Senate from Walker’s GOP to the opposition, was a former high school history and economics teacher who for years was active in his local, state and national teacher unions. Lehman’s a true believer in trade unionism. How true? His passions run so deep that in his previous incarnation as a legislator he was the lead sponsor of legislation to add a labor-history component to Wisconsin’s education curriculum..... Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/column/john_nichols/article_cec06008-b3e4-11e1-978f-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz1xnOAvipg
mau June 14, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Good grief, what Orwell's 1984 dream world are you living in. Lehman is an un-American draft dodger.
mau June 14, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Good grief, the Republicans are the whiners and losers? Ground control to morninmist, we listened to the democrats whining, crying, threats, protests, death threats for almost 2 years, and they still lost.
James R Hoffa June 14, 2012 at 08:23 PM
@morninmist - A hack piece from a partisan hack, John Nichols - the man is a joke ever since he was duped by the Onion style parody about Paul Ryan on some lefty-liberal blog that he thought was true! Further proof of this lies in the facts that: - Nichols considers about 240 cross-ticket ballots as constituting a "striking number;" - Nichols considers Lehman's win to indicated "that President Obama remains well-positioned in Wisconsin" despite a new Rasmussen poll out yesterday that indicated the exact opposite; - Nichols completely brushes off the fact that the Senate is not schedule to reconvene until after the November elections, during which there is a very real possibility and a high probability that the Senate will once again flip to a GOP majority. Only a hack such as yourself would even take Nichols serious.
James R Hoffa June 14, 2012 at 08:23 PM
BTW - He forgot to mention how Lehman: - was responsible for a $1B+ tax increase during his previous tenure, which also constituted a lie concerning his direct campaign promise not to raise taxes; - received no bi-partisan support on any of his previously introduced legislation; - was well known as a bullhead and stonewaller during his previous term; - is a convicted draft dodger; - dated his current wife while he was teaching her in a public school (an abuse under the color of an authoritative public position); - used the public schools as his personal campaign recruiting stations and enticed students with the promises of free pizza and community service hours; - was coerced to run in this recall by the DPW and not because he wanted to run; - … well, the list of negatives is quite simply endless!
James R Hoffa June 14, 2012 at 08:37 PM
@morninmist - The situation described by the lefty-liberal blog does not fall within the jurisdiction of the state AG's office. It would be up to the Racine County DA to investigate this issue. Please, get your facts straight before spewing your meaningless partisan propaganda and rhetoric on the Patch! And from a blog that attempts to race-bait with headlines such as "Walker Leads Among White Voters," no less!
robert heule June 14, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Mau, Lehman was pardoned by his fellow great American Ronald Reagan for his passive resistance. Others who did the same were Dick Cheny, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney to name a few. I don't mean to upset anyone by this comment.
mau June 14, 2012 at 09:14 PM
President Ford pardoned Lehman and many others who fled to Canada. Many Americans were upset by Ford's action. So these others you mentioned also fled the country to avoid the draft?
James R Hoffa June 14, 2012 at 09:52 PM
@robert heule - As mau stated, Lehman was pardoned by Ford, not Reagan. And to my knowledge, Cheney, Bush, and Romney were never convicted of draft dodging, as one would need to be in order to receive a pardon for such. Cheney and Romney managed to legally avoid the draft by applying for and receiving deferments and exemptions. Bush W served in the Texas Air National Guard, although, his critics contend that he received favored treatment due to his father's political influence and was therefor never deployed to Vietnam. Whether or not H.W. exerted any special influence has never been conclusively proven. Lehman, however, was tried, convicted, and sentenced to community service hours and 9 months in prison. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adB_1wsOozc
Lyle Ruble June 14, 2012 at 10:02 PM
@JRH...Do you need something to do? This whole thing with Lehman is like old dead fish, it's beginning to smell to high heaven. This whole thing will quickly pass after the November elections. From my perspective, as someone who voluntarily served during Vietnam, I can more easily support a draft dodger than those that manipulated the system with deferments and exemptions or cushy assignments. But that has absolutely nothing to do with the recent election and outcome. It will all be settled soon and I suggest you find something more worthy of your time and talent.
James R Hoffa June 14, 2012 at 10:07 PM
@Lyle - Thanks - I'll take that to heart ;-) Although, calling out John Nichols for the partisan hack that he is, is time well spent!
mau June 14, 2012 at 10:14 PM
We had to listen to the whining and crying of the anti-Walker crowd for over a year. Along with the non-stop promotion of their agenda by the media. During this time the left had no problem trying to interrupt the system with recalls and single judges stopping laws that were voted on and signed into law. So now that their tactics didn't work and they have lost, all of a sudden the Walker supporters are supposed to drop the subject.
Lyle Ruble June 14, 2012 at 10:24 PM
@mau...I thought you were better than us "lefty" liberals. Everything is going to change in five months anyway. Like I said to JRH, you have better things to do with your time. No one is asking you to drop anything. You can still pledge your support to the Voter ID law. Other than that, your side won and the voter ID is not a dead issue. Just because Lehman won the old 21st, he won't be running in that district in November, he will have to run in one of the new districts that the Republicans drafted. If you want to bitch about something, I'm trying to figure out how we can get more of your tax money. I'm scheming every waking hour to separate hard working Wisconsin taxpayers from their hard earned wages.
mau June 14, 2012 at 11:02 PM
I sat out all the bickering for the last few weeks because there was just too much crap flying back and forth. What I do with my time is my business. I was and still am in the 21st district. JRH can correct me if I'm wrong, but we are stuck with Lehman until 2013. He serves out Wanggaards term.
James R Hoffa June 14, 2012 at 11:16 PM
@Lyle - You can get the whole run down about SD21 and why people are upset here: http://mountpleasant.patch.com/articles/did-redistricting-disenfranchise-voters-in-the-new-21st-senate-district I knew I had to hang on to my wallet extra tight with you around ;-)
Geoff Tolley June 15, 2012 at 12:13 AM
@Lyle, mau: while Lehman won't be running in the new SD21 in November, it is because SD21 isn't due for another senate election until November 2014. It is the even-numbered senate district seats that are up in 5 months' time. Lehman will become eligible for recall most likely late June 2013 for (judging by recent cases) an early October 2013 election if you can't wait that long.

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