Voters in Wisconsin will decide whether Democratic Senators Jim Holperin and Bob Wirch will remain in office in the latest recall elections today. Holperin is facing off against Tea Party favorite and founder of the Northwoods Patriot, Kim Simac, in northern Wisconsin. Wirch faces attorney Jonathan Steitz in Burlington and most of Kenosha County.
This comes off the heels of last week’s six Republican recall elections, four of which Republicans won and two of which the Democrats picked up. However, it wasn’t enough for the Democrats to take control of the Wisconsin state Senate, but if they had picked up one more, they would have had congressional control. Assuming both the Democrats win their elections today, the Senate will still have a Republican majority, 17-16.
According to a poll released by the Daily Kos and Public Policy Forum Monday, both the Democratic Senators had double-digit leads just one day before today’s elections. Wirch had a 13% advantage on Steitz, 55%-42% with the 3% saying they were undecided. Holperin lead Simac by 14%, with 55% saying they’ll vote for Holperin and 41% saying that they’ll vote for Simac. 4% of those surveyed in the latter poll say they were undecided. Both polls have a margin of error of 2.9% and 2.6%, respectively.
Despite the favorable poll numbers for the Democrats, Charles Franklin, a political scientist, says that it all comes down to the turn out. During last week’s election in some of the six districts, the number of energized voters from sides of the aisle rivaled turn out during some of the most recent presidential elections.
Holperin and Wirch were two of 12 Senate Democrats that left the state for three weeks in order to try to block the bill that ended most collective bargaining rights for unions. The bill was later signed into law by Gov. Walker.