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Wanggaard holding his seat is critical for the Republicans, and here’s why.
The GOP held a 19-14 edge in the Senate after the 2010 elections, but Democrats cut that margin to 17-16 by winning a pair of recall races in August.
Then, after four more state senators were recalled, state Sen. Pam Galloway, R-Marathon, resigned abruptly, citing family health issues. So, the chamber is split 16-16, with one vacancy.
Though Democrats need to win only one of the four races Tuesday to take control of the Senate, Republicans will continue to hold a commanding, 60-39, edge in the Assembly.
Labor unions have bankrolled the recall effort against Walker and poured money into Barrett’s campaign. The importance of the Senate race isn't lost on them.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a labor union based Washington, D.C., has thrown $1,000 to each of the Democratic candidates in the four races. Wisconsin-based labor unions poured more than $10,000 into the four races during the last reporting cycle, April 22 to May 21, according to the most-recent cycle of reports to the Government Accountability Board, the state’s election watchdog.
In races in which more than 85 percent of all contributions were less than $100, that holds considerable weight.
A trickle-down effect, a result of the money spent on the top of the ticket, emerges as people backing Walker or Barrett are likely to vote for the same party in the Senate races.
If the effort to recall Walker fails, a victory in any of the four races would be a moral win for Democrats, but the gubernatorial race remains most important, said McAdams.
“Even if they take back the majority, the Democrats would be far from able to roll back all Walker’s reforms,” he said. “And if Van Wanggaard survives, it only adds to the support for Walker in the Legislature.”
The races have seen a dearth of polling. The most recent poll — by liberal leaning Public Policy Polling in mid-April — showed the Republican candidates leading in every race. Only the Wanggaard-Lehman race was within the margin of error, with Wanggaard leading by 2 points.
This article originally appeared at WisconsinReporer.com