Jun 06, 2012 11:46 AM EDT
Gov. Scott Walker Makes History, Survives Wisconsin Recall Election
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday became the first governor in US history to win a recall election, a victory seen by Democrats as a travesty due to Walker's political agenda that includes sharp cuts to public sector union rights.
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The vote was a rematch from November 2010, when Walker first defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and became part of a Republican sweep that included control of both houses of the Legislature.
Barrett accused Walker of neglecting the needs of the state in the interests of furthering his own political career by making Wisconsin "the tea party capital of the country."
With nearly 99 percent of precincts reporting, Walker had 53 percent of the vote, compared 46 percent for Barrett, according to early returns tabulated by the Associated Press.
The Tuesday recall may keep Walker in office, but it removed one of the four Republican state senators, which shifted control to Democrats, 17-16.
The Wisconsin election tested voter attitudes toward Walker's aggressive governing style as well as a law that eliminates collective bargaining rights for most public employees and teachers.
As it stands, Wisconsin's unemployment rate is at 6.7 percent - lower than the national average - and will force Republicans and Democrats alike to reevaluate the Wisconsin political landscape in setting their presidential campaign strategies.
Democrats and organized labor spent millions to oust Walker, but found themselves hopelessly outspent by Republicans from across the country who donated record-setting sums to Walker.
The recall also focused as much on Walker's record creating jobs as on the divisive union proposal. Walker promised in 2010 to create 250,000 jobs over four year as governor-a major concentration of contention.
Walker relied on new data showing the state added about 23,000 jobs in 2011, while a different survey that Barrett favored found the state had lost about 34,000.