Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Well, THAT Was Worth It

Now that Recall Mania is over for those of us here in the Fox Valley, let's take a closer look at some of the numbers.

Tuesday's vote changes 1.5% of the power in Madison.  Two seats out of 132 in the Legislature went from Republicans to Democrats yesterday.  When you factor in the Legislature shares power equally with the Governor and the State Supreme Court, you could argue that just .5% of power changed hands yesterday.

As of the end of July, $35-million dollars had been spent by the recall candidates and all of the special interest groups.  I think when the final numbers come in, we'll be looking at more than $40-million being spent on these races--and that doesn't include what was spent on running the elections or paying the lawyers.  When you consider that there are about 175-thousand public sector employees in Wisconsin--we could have just sent $229 checks to all of those workers--which would have made up for some of what they now have to contribute to their pensions.

Here in the 18th State Senate District, we saw a 14-hundred vote swing from the results in 2008 that gave Randy Hopper a 200-vote win over Jessica King.  This will probably be about a $3.5 million dollar race--so the candidates and the special interest groups spent $2500 per swing voter to change the results this time around. 

I've already received dozens of email press releases from both parties, all kinds of candidates, the Governor, and all the special interest groups that spent so much money this summer.  According to those releases, yesterday's results send a "clear message" that Wisconsin voters reject the Republican agenda, fully endorse the Republican agenda, care about collective bargaining for public sector employees, care about keeping the budget balanced, weren't swayed by union special interest groups and weren't swayed by corporate special interest groups.  The message I take away from the race in the 18th State Senate District race: sexual indiscretions matter--if you're a Republican.

The most telling number is that of the people who stayed away from the polls yesterday.  Turnout in most races was in the 35-40% range--meaning 60% percent of people in Wisconsin don't care either way about collective bargaining, state spending or leaving for Illinois to delay votes.  That might be the most powerful message coming out of the recall elections of 2011.

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