Authors: Jeanette Torres
(MADISON, Wis.) -- Tuesday’s recall election results in Wisconsin were something of a disappointment to Democrats, who’d hoped to snag control of the state Senate by defeating at least four Republican incumbents but wound up settling for only two victories.
On ABC’s Top Line Wednesday, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., -- a strong supporter of the recall push -- said the results are “certainly an accomplishment” for Democrats. But she acknowledged disappointment that Democrats weren’t able to do more to demonstrate voters’ dissatisfaction with Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., and his agenda.
“There's room for encouragement as well as looking at what went right and what went wrong,” Baldwin told Top Line. “Certainly a true victory would have seen the Senate flip from Republican hands to Democratic hands. So I think we certainly recognize we have work to do, but there's still encouragement about the progress made. This was a message and a very strong message in deeply red districts in Wisconsin.”
Six incumbent state Senators were on the ballot Tuesday. Baldwin pointed out that because only those elected in 2008 -- a heavily Democratic year -- could be subjected to recall votes this year, those incumbents tended to be in solidly Republican districts.
“We're talking about the deepest red districts in the state,” she said. “I think that a very strong message was sent statewide, and if some of these battles had been fought out in slightly less red districts, we would have seen a different thing. But this wasn't a statewide election. … This was just one more phase in what is a much longer movement.”
Baldwin rejected the notion that Walker and his agenda should be emboldened by the results.
“If all six Republican Senate seats had stayed in Republican hands, that might have been an interpretation,” she said. “If this had been something that was happening throughout the state of Wisconsin, I think you would have seen the midterm elections turned on their head. But it wasn't. The recall law only allows us to go in certain Senate districts. This is part of a much longer movement, and I think you'll see that Wisconsinites who would like a responsive legislature and governor are not going to stop here.”
Baldwin also stopped short of saying that recall elections should be available to voters to hold members of Congress accountable, though she said that’s something worth considering because of the recent series of “very embarrassing” scandals involving members.
She went on to suggest that recalls may be a useful tool now, in the wake of what she said was a “manufactured crisis” over the debt ceiling.
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