Wisconsin Senator will not challenge recall defeat

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 10, 2012 8:34 PM
Wisconsin Senator will not challenge recall defeat

By Brendan O'Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Republican Wisconsin Senator Van Wanggaard on Tuesday said he will not challenge the results of his June recall election defeat that gives Democrats the majority in the state Senate.

His concession confirmed a consolation prize for Democrats, who failed to oust Republican Governor Scott Walker in a nationally watched June 5 recall election.

Wanggaard had until Tuesday to file a lawsuit in court to contest the results of a recount that showed he lost to Democrat challenger John Lehman by 819 votes, or 1 percent.

"As General Douglas MacArthur once said, 'I shall return,'" the first-term senator said in a statement, vowing to run for the same seat in 2014.

Lehman's victory gives Democrats a 17-16 majority in the Senate, which may be short-lived because half of its members are up for re-election in November and Republicans have redrawn election lines to favor themselves.

The result also has little meaning because the chamber is not expected to reconvene until January.

Wanggaard requested the recount of the June 5 election, alleging irregularities at the polls involving voters failing to sign poll books and resealed ballot bags. The original canvass found Wanggaard had lost the special election by 834 votes.

Wanggaard was one of three Republican state senators who faced special elections, along with Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.

Walker angered Democrats and labor groups with his successful drive last year to limit the power of public sector unions.

Walker became the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall. Kleefisch and the two other senators also won recall elections that day. A fourth senator resigned in March before facing a special election. A Republican won her seat.

(Editing by Sandra Maler)