by Max Brantley
The Milwaukee newspaper coverage puts the Scott Walker win at 53-46 in the Wisconsin recall election, a point better than the actual election. According to this account, one Senate recall race still too close to call.
But for Democrats looking for a shred of decent news to take away from a dispiriting evening, there's this: No one is calling one of the Senate recall races on the Wisconsin ballot last night, which otherwise held Republican advantage. But with all precincts in, the Democrat is leading by 800 votes in one contest. If that holds up, Democrats will hold a one-vote majority in the state Senate.
Takeaways: Tea Party sentiment is strong and energetic in Wisconsin. Exit polling indicated some swing voters preferred to let the election results stand. The same polls that showed Walker would win — both pre-election and in exit polling last night — showed a majority of Wisconsin voters would again favor President Obama in November. Seems hard to believe somebody could vote for Scott Walker AND Barack Obama, but so the polls say .... Republicans aren't buying naturallly.
Finally, money. In direct contributions, Walker outraised Tom Barrett $30.5 million to $3.9 million. A majority of Walker's money came from out of state. A majority of Barrett's came from in-state. The independent expenditures tilted overall spending to Walker about $45 million to $17 million. And still Republicans messagers depicted this as a defeat of big union money. Unions spent big, no doubt. And the public unions were throttled last night. But make no mistake who has the edge when it comes to money in this or any battle, particularly in the era of Citizens United. It's not the working man or the dwindling number of strong labor unions.
The nonpartisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan group, reports the spending on the various recalls. It's sobering.