Red, white and blue

Lehman declares victory; result would shift Senate power to Dems

CREATED Jun 6, 2012 - UPDATED: Jun 6, 2012

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RACINE - It appears there is a power shift in the Wisconsin State Senate after the current results of the June 5th recall election.

Democrats are claiming victory in a tight race in Racine County, which would mean their party would control the Senate.

Unofficial results show that challenger and former Racine Senator John Lehman has defeated the Republican who took his job in 2010, Republican incumbent Van Wanggaard, by almost 800 votes.

Lehman declared victory, but results have not been certified and as of early Wednesday morning, Wanggaard had not given a concession speech.

If Lehman is declared winner of that race, Democrats would own a 17-16 lead over Republicans in the Senate.

During an emotional speech to supporters just before 1:00 a.m. Wednesday, Lehman declared, "All the vote totals are in now.  It's clear we won the 21st Senate seat race!" which led to screams from his supporters at a post-election rally in Racine.

This was a bitter race in a district that is historically divided.

"I'd like to thank to voters of the 21st, and I dedicate the victory to all those workers who worked so selflessly for all these months," he said."

Wanggaard and his campaign urged caution before results would be verified, saying they owe it to the candidate and his supporters.

Wanggaard says he will be reviewing the results. His campaign manager and the leader of the effort to elect Senate Republicans did not immediately return messages Wednesday morning.

Lehman is up 1.09 percentage points based on the unofficial returns.

The county's board of canvassers has until June 15 to submit the canvassed totals. Once the last report is in, the candidates have three business days, or June 20 at the latest, to ask for a recount.

If the results are official and are not challenged, Lehman would be sworn in by the end of June.