Thursday, August 11, 2011

Will the Recall Results Embolden Moderate Republicans?

Recall results could usher in rise of moderate Republicans.  (Wisconsin State Journal, 8/11/2011)

ExcerptThe GOP still controls the state Senate, but that doesn’t mean a power shift isn’t taking place at the Capitol.

Democrats on Tuesday fell one win short of taking the three seats needed to seize control of the Senate. But any relief felt by Gov. Scott Walker and Republican leadership was tempered Wednesday as the mathematics of passing new legislation settled in.

If Democrats win their two recall elections next week, Republicans will have a narrow 17-to-16 Senate majority. That means the assembly line of legislation that has marked Walker’s short tenure as governor is probably over.

That’s because moderate Republicans — essentially pushed aside the past six months — could now be the most powerful and important people in the Legislature. Or as Sen. Robert Wirch, D-Pleasant Prairie, said Wednesday: “(Sen. Dale Schultz) was an outcast in his caucus, and I think with this election he becomes a king maker.”

Next week Wirch and Sen. Jim Holperin, D-Conover, face their own recalls. Republicans would need to win both to return to the level of power they held before the recalls began.

RG comment: A Republican win in just one of the recall elections means that Democrats will end up with a net gain of 1 seat in the Wisconsin State Senate, i.e., the Republicans will have an 18-15 majority.   In this scenario, there's little that Dale Schultz can do on his own. In order to be effective, he'll need another moderate Republican to join him. Which begs the question: Is Luther Olsen willing to slip out of his leash?

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