Wisconsin Senate May Switch Hands After Recall Recount

By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown
By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown

(CNN) - Democrats may be poised to gain control of the Wisconsin state Senate, unofficial results of a recall election recount released Monday evening showed.

Democratic challenger John Lehman was 819 votes ahead of Republican state Sen. Van Wanggaard in a recount of the District 21 recall vote, which took place last month.

The state Senate is currently balanced with 16 Republicans and 16 Democrats, and the body's presiding officers are Republicans.

Other Republicans survived the recall effort - including Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, state Sen. Terry Moulton, and state Sen. Jerry Petrowski - but a recount was called for after a June count showed Lehman ahead of Wanggaard by 834 votes of the 72,000 cast.

The recall was triggered after Walker and the Republican-led legislature restricted the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions in March 2011. The race garned national attention and political groups spent millions on advertizing and voter contact efforts.

In his June victory speech, Walker said his win showed voters approved of the deep state spending cuts.

"Tonight, we tell Wisconsin, we tell our country and we tell people all across the globe that voters really do want leaders who stand up and make the tough decisions," he said.

In a statement after the original results in June, Wanggaard said "there are a number of outstanding absentee ballots, voting irregularities, and that there were problems across the county in the unofficial tally of ballots."

Justin Phillips, Wanggaard's campaign manager said the incumbent would take his time "speak with constitutients, voters" before deciding whether to appeal the recount, which he said did not satisfy some of Wanggaard's questions about premade ballots and improperly sealed ballot bags.

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