Walker Survives Recall Challenge
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
Gov. Scott Walker became the first governor in the country's history on Tuesday to survive a recall election.
NBC, CNN and Fox News called the race shortly before 9 p.m. The Associated Press called it for Walker minutes later.
Exit polls for a time had shown the race at 50-50, but later showed Walker with a 4 percentage point lead.
The Republican governor held onto his seat in a rematch with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who Walker beat by nearly 6 percentage points in 2010. Turnout Tuesday was far higher than it had been 19 months earlier.
"It's way too early to call it," said Phil Walzak, a spokesman for Barrett.
"People are still in line voting and 80% of the vote hasn't been counted," he said. "There are still a lot of votes to count."
Throughout this spring's brief campaign, polls showed a tight race with Walker leading, but Democrats said they felt confident they could beat the governor because of voter anger over his policies.
Plans to recall Walker started shortly after he introduced his plan last year to all but eliminate collective bargaining for public workers. The plan prompted tens of thousands protesters to occupy the Capitol and Senate Democrats to leave the state for three weeks in an effort to block the bill, but Walker's fellow Republicans managed to send the measure to him for his signature in March 2011.
Walker's opponents weren't able to start the recall process until he had been in office for a year, and they began gathering signatures in November. State election officials determined more than 900,000 of those signatures were valid, nearly twice as many as needed.
Now that Walker has survived the recall, he cannot face another one for the remainder of his term, which runs until January 2015.