Gov. Scott Walker survives recall effort in Wisconsin
(CNN) — In a vote with possible presidential election implications, Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin will survive a bitter recall effort, CNN projected Tuesday night.
Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee, hoping to unseat Walker, led early in Dane County, home to Madison, according to the county clerk’s website.
But Walker led in Ozaukee, Racine, Waukesa, Washington and Sheboygan counties, according to returns on clerk and county websites.
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, also a Republican, will hold onto her office, CNN projected.
A state official said on condition of not being identified that turnout appeared to be strong, with reports of some polling places running out of forms for same-day voter registration.
Voters inundated by advertising and door-to-door canvassing delivered their judgments on Walker, a Republican hero for pushing austerity measures that stripped collective bargaining rights from most public unions.
The vitriolic campaign included tens of millions of dollars in funding from outside the state, mostly for the Republican governor.
The race was a rematch of the 2010 governor’s contest, won by Walker with more than 52% of the vote.
This time, the stakes were higher.
The victory by the first-term governor may give Republicans a major boost in efforts to make Wisconsin a battleground state in the November presidential election.
President Barack Obama easily won the state in 2008, but Walker’s unyielding commitment to fiscal austerity in the face of chaotic protests last year made him the poster child for tea party conservatism.