AP is posting the results here as they come in; the polls closed at 8 pm central. The Republicans lead in every district but 32 at this point, and that’s the heaviest Dem district in play. So far, it’s looking like the Democrats won’t retake the state Senate but it’s still early yet. The D’s need to take that seat and two more to take the majority.
They might not keep it long, though, with two Democrats facing recall next week.
This entire sequence of elections has been nationalized to the point that they’re symbolic of the overall national ability to enact reforms, especially in the face of union organization and hostility. But they’re largely symbolic at this point, for the simple reason that Gov. Walker’s reforms will stand whether the GOP holds onto the Senate or not. And there’s strong evidence that those reforms, though they’re only a few months old, are already working.
A failure in Wisconsin is worse for the Democrats and the unions, in my opinion, than a failure for the Republicans would be. Wisconsin is the birthplace of the modern labor movement. It has routinely been a blue state until the last couple of election cycles. Failure tonight for the Democrats may mean Wisconsin is gone to them for a long time to come, while for the Republicans, there’s next week’s shot at recapturing the Senate and the long game of continuing reform and continuing to chip away at the union’s bastion.
Update: The races in Districts 2 and 10 have already been called — two Republican wins.
However, District 32 seems to be slipping away, and District 8 has the Democrat leading with just 15 of 82 precincts in.
Update: District 18 has gone 50-50. The Republican, Olsen, leads by eight in District 14. The Democrats lead in the other two. With two wins in hand for the Republicans and the Democrats needing to pick up three, the night looks like it will come down to that race in 18 to determine which party will control the Wisconsin Senate.
If the Democrats win, the worst outcome may not be what happens to the idea of reform in Wisconsin. Democrats winning in Wisconsin may embolden them to take up recalls in other states. The perpetual campaign that everyone hates now could literally become a perpetual campaign, as the Democrats tap union money to mount strategic recalls state by state whenever they see the opportunity to scare or remove reform-minded lawmakers.
And then, there’s the threat of how they will react if they end up losing tonight…
Update: Olsen wins District 14. That’s three for the GOP. But — all three of the others are trending Democrat at the moment.
Update: In District 18 it’s looking like it could come down to Fond du Lac county. That’s McCain territory from 2008 — he won there by 9 points. On twitter, Jamie Dupree spells out what the Democrat will need to win there — a lot.
Update: Fond du Lac is in, putting Hopper ahead in 18, But nearly half of Winnebago county is still out.
Update: GOP now expecting to win five of the six? That strikes me as almost ridiculously optimistic, but it’s worth noting that no race has been called for any Dem as of yet,while the Republicans have already held three. (via Hot Air)
Update: The Democrats win in 32 as expected. That was always their most likely win, and is factored into the update above.
Update: With 97% of precincts reporting, the D is up in 18. That would make two for the Democrats, shifting the whole ballgame to Darling in 8. And currently, Darling is down nearly 2,000 with 55 of 82 precincts in.
Update: And as I was hitting publish, the Democrats took 18. That’s three for the GOP, two for the Dems. Everything is now on District 8.
Update: The AP hasn’t reported Waukesha’s numbers in D8 yet, but they’ve been posted here. And if they’re accurate, the GOP’s Darling has a decent lead.
Update: Grab some salt — according to a “GOP source,” Darling will win 8. Things are definitely trending that way but much of Milwaukee county is still out. The AP has updated the numbers from Waukesha and Ozaukee counties, and Darling has cleaned up in both.
Update: Nate Silver says Darling is likely to win now.
Update: And the Democrats’ spin for defeat begins.Reminder: They recalled six, and look to capture only two, and there are two Dems up for recall next week. The Democrats and unions mounted a national, multimillion dollar effort — and appear to have failed. In Wisconsin.
Update: While Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow keep just making things up on MSNBC, News 3 in WI is calling the D8 election for Darling. The GOP retains control of the WI Senate despite a massive, $30 million effort by the unions to pick up three seats.
Next week, three Democrats face recall. The best they can hope for is to retain both seats, no gain is possible. How sweet would it be for the Republicans to pick up even one of them?
Since the D8 election has been called and the Republicans kept the WI Senate…well, things feel pretty good right now, don’t they.