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After unseating Republican State Senator Van Wanggaard in a recall election over a month ago (on June 5), Democrat John Lehman was sworn in this afternoon.  The Wisconsin State Senate will convene tomorrow to hand over control of that body, including the State Senate Presidency and control over the organizational committee, to the Democrats who are now in the majority (17-16).

Tomorrow, State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who survived his own recall election by massive spending against grassroots newcomer Lori Compas, becomes the Minority Leader.

Tomorrow, Democrats in the State Senate can get access to documents they have been denied for more than a year, including documents related to the ultra secretive gerrymandering redistricting that Republicans did outside of the State Capitol in the offices of lawyers hired by them with no input from anyone other than Republicans.

Tomorrow, even if Gov. Scott Walker (R-FritzWalkerStan) wanted to call a special session of our legislature to ram through his beloved environmentally destroying mining bill, engage in shenanigans with one of the most solid state pension plans in the country, or push through more ALEC legislation like Right to Work (for Less), he couldn't.  

For now, the GOP , ALEC, and the Koch Brothers have done all the damage they can inflict.  They no longer "own" our entire state government.

They tried to hang on to power.  

Walker spent $100 million in lying ads since the protests began in February 2011.  He spent $34 million alone in lying ads in the recall election and that doesn't include spending by his allies in the Wisconsin Association of Manufacturers, Americans for (the Kochs) Prosperity, the MacIver Institute, or others.  The 4 recalled Republican State Senators were also heavily funded and able to use the power of money to outspend their opponents many times.

Thanks to unlimited fundraising (allowed under Wisconsin recall laws that allow a recalled official to raise unlmited funds from the moment a recall is begun until the recall is certified by the GAB) Walker had a bigger campaign war chest than he had in 2010.  That was the reason for all those threats of challenges - to allow Walker to parachute in all over the country to rake in the bucks.  And in the end, after he squeezed every possible dollar he could from the multi millionaire and billionaire RWNJs, he announced he wouldn't challenge the recall.  

And thanks to 5 RWNJs on the Supreme Court and their Citizens United decision, corporations and billionaires could pump all the millions they wanted into friendly sounding astroturf groups that blanketed the airwaves with supportive Walker ads and those that pounded out lies about Walkers opponents.

It worked to buy every recall election but one.

After the June 5 election, Van Wanggaard didn't concede.  Instead, he insisted that there was massive voter fraud and demanded a full recount.  He didn't mind spending the money for that - Republicans always have plenty of payola.  Despite having his electoral loss confirmed in the recount, he continued his strawman "voter fraud" claims despite the fact that Gov. Scott Walker won in his district.  He threatened legal action to keep his seat.

In the end, on the final day, he announced he wouldn't seek legal action, but hasn't given up whining about "voter fraud".

It's taken 2 recall elections and lots of work by tens of thousands of Wisconsinites, but we finally have control of our State Senate starting tomorrow.  

We're not done.  Every seat in our State Assembly and half the seats in our State Senate will be up for reelection in November.  We'll have to work hard to keep control of the Senate and try to increase the number of Democrats in the State Assembly.  As things stand now, no Democrat even has to show up for the Assembly to have an official quorum.  That has to change.  

We are familiar with the enemy:  Big Money (mostly out of state billionaires), a state saturated with RW hate radio, and a lazy corporate media in the tank for the GOP which will continue to ignore or downplay Republican failings and fraud and pummel Republican opponents.  On our side is the truth, fairness, and tens of thousands of grassroots activists.

Continuing thanks to the DK community for your continued interest and support.


Originally posted to Puddytat on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:49 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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