In what was viewed in some circles as the first skirmish of the 2012 elections, the Republicans hung on to a majority, but just barely, in the Wisconsin Senate.
Wisconsin that was in epi-center of the progressive Movement at the turn of the 19th century through the 1920s and instituted a series of provisions to guarantee cleaner politics. One of the provisions is the recall that allows voters to demand a special election if one of their representatives has angered them by his voting record or on personal issues. They must of course get a sufficient number of signatures on a recall petition.
The Democrats and their trade union allies targeted 6 Republican senators in the Wisconsin statehouse. If the Democrats had unseated most of the 6, they would have gained a majority in the Senate and would have been able to block the policies of Governor Scott Walker.
Walker has promised to reduce the power of the public service unions as a critical step towards balancing the state budget. The Republican majority in both houses passed a controversial law in March stripping the state employees of most of their collective bargaining rights.
The Democrats hoped to use the elections as a springboard against similar actions by Republican governors in Ohio and Indiana. Campaign contributions of a magnitude fit for a statewide campaign poured in from outside of Wisconsin and the Democrats did manage to unseat 3 Republicans (two Democrats will be facing similar recall elections next week but they will be an anticlimax).
However, the invested millions did not produce the desired results and therefore the Wisconsin recall elections can be viewed as a Republican victory.
While the unions claim a moral victory, it remains a bad bargain, considering their outlay and efforts.