Recall elections

Both sides claim victory, but who really won?

CREATED Aug 17, 2011

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MADISON - Both sides involved in recall elections in Wisconsin claimed victory after the final elections on August 16th.

Democrats cut into the Republican majority in the State Senate, making a 19-14 GOP advantage a 17-16 margin.

So who won, and what is next?

"Republicans say, 'We kept the majority.  We got nicked, but we're still holding the majority,' " said UWM Professor Mordecai Lee in an interview with TODAY'S TMJ4's Melissa McCrady.

"Democrats say, 'Hey, we knocked off two Republican state senators. We're doing good.' "

The state Democratic Party says its members came out on top, because quote they won more races, recalled two Republican senators, protected every Democratic incumbent that were targeted, shifted the balance of power in the state Senate away from conservatives, and forced Governor Walker and the GOP to pay public lip service to moderation and bipartisanship. 

It claims the victories of Senators Wirch and Holperin cap off successful recall elections this summer for Democrats, progressives, moderates and independents.

The Republican National Committee meanwhile, says its party can claim victory because they maintained the majority. 

It warns Democrats that recent polls show voters disapprove of further recalls, saying they are distracting and expensive.

The RNC says Republicans in Wisconsin will now get back to work focusing on job creation and getting the state's fiscal house in order.  

So beyond each side's "politi-speak," can both sides truly claim victory?

Lee says there can only be one winner.

"We have to remember, in politics, being close to getting the majority doesn't count.  That's only in horseshoes."

The professor also believes the recall elections are not over.

"The big enchilada question: Will there be a recall against Governor Walker?  I think we can safely predict the Democrats are going to make a real effort," said Lee.

Recall organizers need more than 500,000 signatures to trigger a recall election against Governor Walker.