The unions and Democrats have tried every tactic they could to disrupt and force Governor Walker to do their bidding. In fact their tactics turned many voters away from them and towards Governor Walker.
The Republicans argued the move was a necessary part of their efforts to cut Wisconsin’s estimated $3.6 billion budget shortfall. Democrats and union leaders accused them of overreaching.
On Tuesday, an overwhelming majority of Wisconsin voters concluded that the complaints against Walker were not enough reason to oust him midterm.
Wisconsin went for President Obama in 2008, but the recall results give Republicans hope that their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, can win there in November.
The outcome Tuesday is also a blow to the labor movement, which poured considerable resources into the failed effort to oust Walker.
Of the three recall elections of governors in U.S. history, only Walker has survived.
Walker’s lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, also was projected to survive her recall election.
The recall effort started about a year and a half ago, after the legislature passed Walker’s proposal to curb public employee union power, while also requiring most public state workers to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits.
Democrats and unions argued the governor had gone too far, and they helped organize massive statehouse protests and gather 900,000 signatures for the recall vote.
Roughly $63 million was spent on the race, with much of Walker’s support coming from outside of the state.
The Republican Governors Association spent $1.5 million in a last-minute, get-out-the-vote effort. However, most voters seemed to have decided long before Election Day.
Democratic groups -- including those funded by unions, the Democratic Governors Association and the Democratic National Committee -- poured in about $14 million, based on a tally from the government watchdog group the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. Barrett's $4.2 million in donations were mostly from inside Wisconsin.
The race attracted some big names on both sides. Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appeared on behalf of Walker, while former President Bill Clinton came out for Barrett in the race's final days.
The impact of the vote is expected to carry into the November elections.
“I congratulate Scott Walker on his victory in Wisconsin,” Romney said. “Governor Walker has demonstrated over the past year what sound fiscal policies can do to turn an economy around, and I believe that in November voters across the country will demonstrate that they want the same in Washington.”
Though Romney visited the state with Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan earlier this year, President Obama did not travel to Wisconsin to campaign for Barrett, though he tweeted his support Monday night.
Since taking office, Walker has reduced the state budget and seen a drop in the state's unemployment rate.
Walker, the 44-year-old son of a minister, remained unflappable throughout the campaign, as he was during the massive protests that raged at the Statehouse for weeks as lawmakers debated his proposal.
Along the way, he has become the most successful fundraiser in Wisconsin politics, collecting at least $31 million from around the country since taking office.
Walker wasn’t the only politician up for recall Tuesday. In addition to Kleefisch, three Republican state senators also face recall votes. A fourth state Senate seat will be determined after the Republican incumbent resigned rather than face the recall.
When union thugs stormed the Wisconsin Capital that was Pearl Harbor. Tonight was Hiroshima.
While the news from Wisconsin is wonderful. The news from New Jersey is horrifying. A week ago this poster was seen all over the New Jersey 9th district:
The Arabic reads: We want this Jew out of Office. The Jew in question was Steve Rothman. The Arabs got their wish. Tonight Steve Rothman lost in a close election.
Rep. Bill Pascrell prevailed over Rep. Steve Rothman on Tuesday in the New Jersey Democratic primary, one of the year’s most bitter incumbent-versus-incumbent contests, which served as a proxy battle between President Obama and former President Bill Clinton.I am expecting to see many more posters in Arabic screaming at the Muslim community to keep the Jew from winning. I know that I will see posters telling the Muslim community to Kill the Jew.
Before the primary, the two eight-term House members were once close-knit allies in the New Jersey congressional delegation. But after the state lost a seat due to the once-a-decade redistricting process, Rothman faced the choice of running against Republican Rep. Scott Garrett, a Tea Party favorite, or moving into Pascrell’s redrawn, heavily Democratic district.
Rothman said he chose to run against Pascrell so that he could represent the same voters in his old district. The majority of the newly drawn district is from the one he currently represents.
But Rothman's decision brewed controversy. Democrats angered by a move they said now automatically reduced their numbers by one instead of challenging a prominent Republican. They also argued it complicated Democrats’ chances of retaking the House majority.
“Friends like this, I don’t need enemies,” Pascrell said earlier this year after Rothman announced he would run against him.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, both implored Rothman to face Garrett and promised him special help to do so.
Pascrell and Rothman also touted competing endorsements during the primary campaign.
Rothman, the only member of the New Jersey delegation to support President Obama during the 2008 presidential primary, featured campaign events with key Obama strategist David Axelrod. Rothman got an endorsement from the president during a visit to the White House last week.
Meanwhile, former President Clinton backed Pascrell, who endorsed now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2008. President Clinton appeared with Pascrell at a campaign rally in Patterson, N.J., over the weekend.
Rothman joins Reps. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, Jason Altmire, D-Pa., and Don Manzullo, R-Ill., as casualties of member-on-member primaries thanks to redistricting this year.
Pascrell will now face Republican Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in the general election this fall.
Boteach authored the book "Kosher Sex" and was Michael Jackson's spiritual adviser.
This has been the first time in US history that a person's faith was used against him and to promote a candidate.
For the New Jersey 9th Congressional District, Monkey in the Middle endorses Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (R) for Congress. Go Rabbi Go!