Wisconsin recall is over, but division remains

at 09:05 AM ET, 06/06/2012

When supporters of Gov. Scott Walker (R) booed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) Tuesday night, he hushed them: “The election is over.”

But supporters on both sides appeared less conciliatory than their leaders, and the deep divisions this recall has left on Wisconsin politics won’t likely fade soon.
Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (C) celebrates his victory in the recall election against Democratic challenger and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in Waukesha, Wisconsin June 5, 2012. (DARREN HAUCK - REUTERS)

One Barrett supporter slapped the mayor when he conceded, saying he should have waited until all the votes were in. When Barrett said both sides would have to “work together,” he was booed by both his crowd in Milwaukee and the Walker supporters in Waukesha.

“I think Scott is more of a grown-up than I would be if the situation were reversed,” said Lisa Kurth of Waukesha after the speech.

Many Walker supporters were enthusiastic about taking on President Obama next. When Obama was mentioned on the news, the crowd booed loudly.

“He can no longer count on Wisconsin, and he’s going to lose Wisconsin,” said Kim O’Brien of Shorewood. “It went from blue to red today.”

Locally, Walker is likely to now tackle pension reform.

As Barrett supporter Tom Schmidt told The Fix before voting in Green Bay, “In my opinion we’ve just seen a taste of it, and this will be the green light to continue further. What everyone’s worried about is that he’s going to go after our pensions next.”

Walker promised to go forward in a more conciliatory manner. He promised to invite the entire legislature over “for some brats and some burgers and maybe a little bit of good Wisconsin beer as well.”

But regardless of whether he reaches across the aisle or not, Walker will likely not see another backlash of this size. A handful of people are still protesting in Madison, but it’s unlikely that after last night’s big loss, labor and Democrats will pick a fight like this anytime soon.

 
Read what others are saying