Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker wakes up Wednesday knowing he’ll get to finish out his term, after voters by a wide margin sided with him in a recall election that had gained national attention and divided much of the state, from opposing political parties to neighbors and even family members.RELATED: Progressive Pundits Lay Groundwork To Blame Obama If Wisconsin Recall Fails
However, several key questions remain unanswered, including whether Wisconsin now can move past the recent acrimony -- and how much impact the recall results will have on the presidential election just five months away.
“Now is the time for us to come together,” Walker told supporters after claiming victory. “Tomorrow we are all Wisconsinites.”
Walker’s Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, made a similar plea in his concession speech late Tuesday night, urging supporters residents to put aside their differences.
“Now we must look to the future,” said Barrett, who also lost to Walker in 2010.
Walker led Barrett in the official count 53 percent to 46 percent with 99 percent of the 3,424 precincts reporting. Walker’s lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, also was projected to survive her recall election.
The recall effort began when the first-term governor and Republicans in the state legislature rolled back what they considered excesses in the collective bargaining agreements of public-employee unions -- an effort to cut Wisconsin’s estimated $3.6 billion budget shortfall.
Wisconsin went for President Obama in 2008, but the recall results give Republicans hope that their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, can win there in November.
“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,” Romney said.
Republicans see Walker’s win as evidence voters across the country want their elected officials to keep government living within its means. They said this paves the way for Romney to become the first Republican candidate to carry Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
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