by Eyder Peralta... via NPR.com
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, just the third governor in U.S. history to face a recall effort, is now the first to successfully defeat such an attempt. The Associated Press projected that Walker would defeat Milwaukee's Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett in what was a rematch of the 2010 gubernatorial election.
The race was closely watched nationwide because it became a proxy of sorts for national politics. At the macro level, it was about different visions for the role of government. But it all stemmed from legislation, championed by Walker, that severely limited the collective-bargaining rights of public employees.
Walker became a hero to some who saw public unions as a special interest that feed mercilessly off taxpayers and a foe to those who thought he was dismantling the fabric that gave workers a decent life and the prospect of a happy retirement.
It was a brutal 17 months that saw nonstop protests. Unions and Democrats collected more than 900,000 signatures to trigger only the third gubernatorial recall election in U.S. history. But in the end, the GOP outraised and outmaneuvered Democrats in the state. Walker raised $30.5 million, while Barrett raised only about $4 million.
In a statement, Walker said it was time to move past the divisions.
But at the State Capitol in Madison, the mood was one of disbelief. One Barrett supporter said Walker had destroyed the progress unions had made in the past 50 years.
Maureen Zarrella, a retired teacher from St. Charles, Ill., who had participated in anti-Walker rallies in Madison and Chicago told NPR's Liz Halloran that she feared Walker's agenda "will be a template for the rest of the country."
"I just hope we can keep up the courage, keep up the fight," she said.
As NPR Political Junkie Ken Rudin has reminded us, the two governors to have been recalled were Lynn Frazier of North Dakota, who was in his third two-year term when he was recalled in October 1921 and Gray Davis of California, who was recalled in October 2003.
Video from JSOnline.com