Republican state Sen. Van Wanggaard requested a recount Friday in his Wisconsin recall race, after the final canvassed results showed him losing in last week’s election to former Democratic state Sen. John Lehman, in a rematch of their 2010 race.
Lehman leads by 834 votes out of nearly 72,000 cast in the Racine-based district, a margin of 1.2 percent. The apparent win gives Democrats a new 17-16 majority in the state Senate — a symbolic silver lining for the party after its failure to unseat Gov. Scott Walker the same night.
The legislature is out of regular session for the year. Half of the chamber is up for reelection this November, when Democrats will have to play defense on a new map drawn by Republican lawmakers.
But Wanggaard is not giving up. He said in a statement:
I do not seek a recount as a delaying tactic. Like many of you, I too want to move on from the bitterness that has divided this state as a result of the recall elections. This is not about maintaining power or denying Democrats power. There are no “secret plans” for a special legislative session during this recount, and no votes scheduled.
But I also recognize that in the absence of a voter ID law and so many people suspicious of the election result, bitterness and division will only grow if the results are not recounted.
The recount I am requesting on behalf of more than 35,000 supporters has a simple philosophy behind it ‐ “Trust but Verify.” Everyone, even those who voted for my opponent, should want to end the schisms caused by the recalls. I hope that a trusted and verified result of the election will finally allow us to move forward.
The Democrats fired back.
“It is shameful in this era of deficit crisis that Van Wanggaard is willing to waste taxpayer money in a desperate effort to cling to political power,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate. “It is also shameful that Wanggaard has resorted to raising the specter of fraud, when the fact is that the voters of his district rejected him in a hard-fought, but fair, contest. The people have spoken. Van Wanggaard should spare them higher taxes and listen.”