Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Republicans are breathing easier following Tuesday’s $5 million Wisconsin Senate recall race.
The Republican incumbent, Sheila Harsdorf, held on to her seat in a decisive fashion. Republicans ended up winning four of six seats holding onto control in the Wisconsin Senate.
The recall effort was being watched closely across the country as a test of voter support for a conservative Republican agenda.
And with that, Wisconsin shot in the arm to Republicans regionally and nationally, comes the announcement Wednesday that President Barack Obama will be in southern Minnesota next week.
The Obama visit will be part of a three-state bus tour that the White House says is part of a job promotion effort. The bus tour will go through southern Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.
Republicans are protesting that the trip is a campaign swing for the President at a time when Republicans are flexing their muscle over their Wisconsin victory.
On Wednesday, at State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf’s campaign headquarters, workers were hauling away boxes from a Republican win that resounded across the country.
Harsdorf’s spokesman said this was a great win for Republicans.
“It was really a referendum on do we want Wisconsin to be spending, keep our spending in check and to make the decisions that are going to be better for the state’s economy and job growth,” Nathan Duerkop said.
The Democrats defeat means that the Republican Revolution that toppled the Democratic establishment in Madison and lead to massive protests earlier this year is here to stay. And for Republicans across the country its a victory to savor heading into 2012.
“It suggests support for a Republican agenda in Wisconsin and maybe in broad sections of the United States,” Prof. David Schultz of Hamline University said.
The Wisconsin Republican victories are a reminder that the upper Midwest is one of the strongest areas of the country for the Tea Party, whose leader in congress is, of course, Minnesota Congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.
President Obama, fresh off the bruising debt ceiling debate, begins the bus tour next week in southern Minnesota before going onto Iowa and Illinois.
Jobs will be the theme but the campaign-style swing is a reminder that the Presidents’ battle for reelection is already under way.
“Minnesota is a state that has been considered to be in play in the past. I think he is starting to worry about trying to shore up his base and shore up a state that has to definitely be on his side,” Schultz said. “He can’t worry about 2012.”
The White House has not announced the details of the trip — we don’t know where in Minnesota or exactly when next week the President will begin this bus tour.
The President’s approval in Minnesota is at 52 percent — about 10 points higher than it is in the rest of the country, so he is hoping for some favorable crowds.