MILWAUKEE (AP) — Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch survived a recall attempt Tuesday, defeating her Democratic challenger and avoiding becoming the first lieutenant governor in the nation to be recalled.

Kleefisch, a Republican, was the only lieutenant governor in the U.S. to face a recall election. Now she’s also the first to survive one.

She faced a recall along with her boss, Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Democrats and unions had been angered after Walker and the GOP-led Legislature took on public-sector union rights last year.

Kleefisch’s role in the process, at least publicly, appeared marginal. However, as Walker’s second-in-command she found herself caught up in the same wave of anger that was directed at her boss and several other GOP lawmakers.

Mitchell argued that Kleefisch deserved to be recalled because she hadn’t done enough to balance out Walker’s agenda. He called her a “rubber stamp” for Walker’s proposals, and said if Walker deserved to go, then so did she.

But Kleefisch argued that she was an indispensable partner who helped Walker create jobs and get spending under control.

No other lieutenant governor has ever been up for recall. Maybe that’s because of the nature of the office: The job description is typically so light that there aren’t many opportunities to inflame the public’s anger.

In Wisconsin the position — which pays $76,261 per year — is largely ceremonial. The main responsibility is to take over if the governor dies, leaves office early or is incapacitated.

Since 1970, Wisconsin has elected its governor and lieutenant governor as a pair on a joint ticket. But because of how these recalls were conducted, the races for governor and lieutenant governor were listed separately.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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