Wisconsin Democrats brushed aside their failure to seize control of the State Senate through recall elections this week, insisting Wednesday that voters rejected the Republican vision for the state and country and vowing to press on with their plan to recall Gov. Scott Walker.
The Democrats took control of just two of the six Republican-held Senate seats contested in Tuesday's elections, yet party officials said those two victories showed the electorate's anger at Walker and Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin and elsewhere who have shown little interest in political compromise.
But as the party faithful turn their attention to delivering their potentially pivotal state to President Obama in next year's election, they may find it hard to maintain the momentum that has fueled their recall efforts. Voters might balk at more of the political turmoil that has engulfed state politics and dominated the airwaves since Walker took office in January.
When asked about the recall election results, Walker told the Associated Press on Wednesday that he thinks voters want the two parties to cooperate more on creating jobs and improving the economy. "People still want us to focus on those two priorities," he said. "They want us to work together."
Walker said he planned to meet soon with leaders from both parties to discuss areas where they could collaborate.
That comment was met with skepticism from Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca. "It's bipartisan action, not bipartisan rhetoric that people are looking for," he said.
Barca said it's too early to tell where the Walker recall effort might go, saying the party would know more in a few weeks. Two Democratic state Senators face their own recall elections next week.
Other leading Democrats and liberal activists were more ebullient about Tuesday's results, saying the two Democratic wins showed Walker is weak and ripe for recall.