The long, costly, acrimonious recall saga is over. NBC, CNN, and Fox News have all called this race. For the second time in two years, the people of Wisconsin have elected Scott Walker. He is, and will remain, the state's governor. This outcome is a triumph for Badger State conservatives, the Tea Party movement, and fiscal sanity generally. Though the Left will spin this defeat furiously, make no mistake: They are crestfallen tonight. Their bete noir has prevailed. Again. Their relentless efforts, vociferous protests and millions of dollars have gone for naught. Wisconsin voters have explicitly endorsed Governor Walker's necessary and demonstrably successful reforms. Beyond the borders of this lone midwestern state, tonight's results will likely embolden future limited government-minded reformers, while offering a clear signal that the unholy, taxpayer-fleecing Democrat/Government Union alliance is no longer the impenetrable fortress it once was -- even in a blue state. More details, nuggets, videos and relevant statistics to come. Savor this moment, and stay tuned...
UPDATE - The networks are now calling the Lt. Governor race for Republican Rebecca Kleefisch. Also, an interesting historical note: Scott Walker is the first governor in US history to survive a recall election. It's only been attempted three times.
UPDATE II - RNC Chairman Reince Priebus (who was Wisconsin's GOP chair until last year) is ebullient:
I congratulate Gov. Scott Walker momentous victory in Wisconsin tonight, and I congratulate the people of my home state in defeating the selfish special interests that wanted to take Wisconsin back to the days of Democrats’ failed policies. Wisconsin has given their stamp of approval to Gov. Walker’s successful reforms that balanced the budget, put people back to work, and put government back on the side of the people. After tonight’s results, Democrats and the Obama campaign are surely nervous. As Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, this election was a ‘dry run’ for the presidential election. But after President Obama actively avoided Wisconsin and Tom Barrett, one of his earliest supporters, it is hard to imagine how he can now come back to Wisconsin and credibly ask for his party’s support in November. The president abandoned his base in this recall, so he shouldn’t be surprised if they return the favor in November. Wisconsin Democrats now head into November dispirited and in disarray, while Republicans remain strong and organized, with momentum on our side.”
UPDATE III - A priceless tweet from the AFL-CIO: "Win or lose, Scott Walker has joined ignominious company in suffering the humiliation of a recall election. 3rd ever." That, my friends, is just sad. Meanwhile, the consensus on MSNBC seems to be that this was a good night for President Obama, based on wildly inaccurate exit polls. Someone get me some of what they're imbibing.
UPDATE III - Expect the following excuses from the Left tomorrow: (1) Barrett was a bad candidate. (2) Walker outspent Barrett by a large margin (they ignore much of the Big Labor cash), so the election (that they forced) was "bought." They'll also assure us that this result will have no bearing whatsoever on November. Mitt Romney weighs in:
“I congratulate Scott Walker on his victory in Wisconsin. 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, D.C. Tonight’s results will echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin. Governor Walker has shown that citizens and taxpayers can fight back – and prevail – against the runaway government costs imposed by labor bosses. Tonight voters said ‘no’ to the tired, liberal ideas of yesterday, and ‘yes’ to fiscal responsibility and a new direction. I look forward to working with Governor Walker to help build a better, brighter future for all Americans.
UPDATE IV - The AP has called three of the four targeted State Senate races for the Republicans. They were all GOP blowouts. Only one remains open...the seat that is expected to be closest. We're keeping a close eye on that one.
UPDATE V - Tom Barrett is finally conceding, more than an hour after the race was called. He is encouraging all Wisconsinites "to listen to each other," even though "the state remains divided." A local reporter says some Democrat supporters shouted "it's not over" and "you're a quitter!" as Barrett delivered his remarks. Walker has
already almost won more votes than he did in 2010, with only 85 percent of the vote counted.
UPDATE VI - An elated Governor Walker declares victory before a raucous crowd. He says, "voters really do want leaders who stand up and make tough decisions." We'll have full video as soon as it's available.
UPDATE VII - Lefty heartache on live television. "Democracy died tonight:"
UPDATE VIII - Scott Walker attracted 1,128,941 votes in his 2010 victory. With 88 percent of the vote counted tonight, he's already won 1,146,594 votes. Wow. (12:40am - He's now approaching total 1,250,000 votes and will expand his victory percentage margin over 2010 by at least two full percentage points. Remember, the Left picked this fight).
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography