MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – After more than a year of fighting, Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker survived Tuesday’s recall vote, winning 53 to 46 percent over his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
A number of political observers have been examining what the results mean for Wisconsin, the rest of the country and for Walker.
As Walker is the only governor to win such an election, some analysts say this marks a big defeat for unions. And a historic win in the national spotlight just may catapult Walker’s political career.
After conceding defeat, Barrett encouraged his backers to keep fighting.
“Please, please remain engaged. Fight for justice and fairness,” he said.
Some looked at the recall as a referendum on Walker’s efforts to rollback collective bargaining rights for certain union workers.
“We tell our country, we tell people all across the globe that voters really wanted leaders to stand up and make tough decisions,” said Walker.
University of Minnesota political analyst Larry Jacobs studied the exit polls and said Walker’s win has some notable implications.
“We saw about four out of 10 households where there’s a union member vote for Walker and not for Barrett. That’s a big surprise,” said Jacobs. “The unions may have overstepped the line. There may have been some backlash against using the recall to punish Walker.”
Despite what happened on Tuesday, Jacobs says that exit polls show that President Barack Obama retains a 7-point lead over Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Wisconsin. But Jacobs said he wouldn’t be surprised if Romney started setting up campaign offices in Minnesota and Wisconsin, two states Romney may have otherwise not focused that much on.