Democrat Declares Victory in Wisconsin Senate Race That Could Flip Majority Control

Former state senator John Lehman, center.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/labor2008/2711450459/sizes/m/in/photostream/">wisaflcio</a>/Flickr

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


In the 21st senate district in southeastern Wisconsin, Democrat John Lehman declared victory late Tuesday night in the recall election of Republican state Sen. Van Wanggard. With all precincts reporting, Lehman led Wanggard by just 779 votes.

The race matters because a Lehman win would hand Democrats control of the state senate for the first time since Gov. Scott Walker took office in January 2011. It would also mean Democrats and labor unions avoided a clean sweep in Tuesday’s six recall elections in Wisconsin.

“Tonight, the citizens of Racine County voted for checks and balances in our state legislature,” Lehman said in a statement. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the state senate.”

Wanggard has yet to concede. His campaign manager released a statement Wednesday morning that said: “We owe it to all of Senator Wanggaard’s supporters and the voters of Wisconsin to thoroughly examine the election and its results and act accordingly once we have all of the information.”

The Wanggard-Lehman recall battle was similar to the marquee race on Tuesday’s recall ticket, the Scott Walker-Tom Barrett election. Just as Walker and Barrett squared off for the first time in the 2010 gubernatorial election, Wanggard defeated Lehman in a 2010 state senate race. Now it appears that Lehman has got his revenge for that loss.

There could be a recount in the Wanggard-Lehman race with the final, unofficial result so close. In Wisconsin, if a race’s margin of victory is 0.5 percent or less, it triggers a taxpayer-funded recount. If it’s between 0.5 percent and 2 percent, a candidate can demand a recount at a discounted price.

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate