I had been meaning to comment on this race for days, but life intervened. The race certainly gave a reason to listen to 88.5 KPLU instead of CBC Radio One or CFAX in my truck
Yes, the people in Wisconsin managed to get the signatures for the recall but what they forgot is that a million people voted in 2010 for Tom Barrett the Democratic candidate. These people were already opposed to Scott Walker and would have signed a recall petition.
The polling in the race had shown an average 7 percentage point lead for Walker for the last three weeks.
Candidate 2010 2012
Republican Scott Walker 1,128,941 52.3% 1,331,076 53.2%
Democrat Tom Barrett 1,004,303 46.5% 1,158,337 46.3%
I do not understand why the Democrats ran the same candidate, rarely a good decision in politics. The recall election did see a significant rise in total votes but but both sides gained more or less evenly.
The re-election of Walker certainly sends him the message that his agenda is supported by the people and will likely make life only that much more difficult for the public sector unions in the state.
If you look back over the 34 years in Wisconsin, the state the Republicans have done better than the Democrats when electing governors.
Year total vote Democrat Republican Other
2012 2,503,745 1,158,337 1,331,076
2010 2,158,974 1,004,303 1,128,941
2006 2,159,251 1,139,115 979,427
2002 1,775,349 800,971 734,779 185,455 Libertarian with 10.5%
1998 1,756,014 679,553 1,047,716
1994 1,563,835 482,850 1,051,326
1990 1,379,727 576,280 801,321
1986 1,526,572 705,578 805,090
1982 1,580,090 896,872 662,738
1978 1,500,804 673,813 816,056
Looking at the these numbers, the odds of a recall election bringing in a Democrat would not seem to have been good.
The gubernatorial race result was also held at the same time as four recall elections for Wisconsin State Senators. The four recalled State Senators were all Republicans and it looks like the Democrats may have won one of those races which would give the Democrats a 17 to 16 majority in the State Senate. Maybe the real goal of the whole process was to gain control of the State Senate.
After the 2010 election the Republicans had a 19 to 14 majority. The Democrats gained two seats in recalls last year which left the State Senate at 17 Republicans and 16 Democrats.
By having a majority in the State Senate, the Democrats now have one avenue to current the power of Governor Scott Walker.
Using recall to effectively force early elections is only going to make politics in the US even more expensive. There will be on going campaigns to recall people so that the election can be fought all over again. The spending in the recall elections has been higher than the spending in the 2010 election cycle.