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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

 1:00 AM 

Fitz: Looks tough for Wanggaard, but any setback temporary

Senate GOP Leader Scott Fitzgerald says the latest returns make "it look tough for Van (Wanggaard) to pull this out." Still, he said any setback for Republicans would be temporary and "we're already in November mode."

Dem John Lehman has moved in front of Wanggaard with a handful of precincts left to report in the Racine County seat.

If Wanggaard loses, it would give Dems a 17-16 majority in the Senate for the remainder of the legislative session. But Fitzgerald, who survived his own recall election today, predicted Republicans would be back in the majority after the November elections.

The GOP will be favored to win the 12th SD, where Dem Jim Holperin is retiring, and Dem Jessica King, who won a recall election last summer, will be a top target for Republicans. Dems, meanwhile, are largely expected to be on defense this fall in the Senate.

Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Republicans benefited today from a slice of the electorate that has grown weary of the constant turmoil in Madison and the recall elections themselves.

"We did a lot of mail, and in a lot of our mail, we used the scenes at the Capitol because we knew there was a group of people that just didn't agree with a lot of what was going on down there," Fitzgerald said.

He said it was unclear whether Republicans would be able to hold onto those voters moving forward, noting the gap between Gov. Scott Walker winning re-election easily and Barack Obama leading in exit polls saying, "It's a weird dynamic that's existing now for sure."

Fitzgerald also said it was unlikely Dems would be able to do anything with the majority for the remainder of the year and predicted there would be no extraordinary or special sessions unless the Dems found enough votes to back a mining bill, which he doubted would happen.

-- By JR Ross

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