With recall elections moving forward against four Republican state senators, Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch the cracks in the Republican front are starting to show.
State Senator Pam Galloway, a recall target due to her consistent and outspoken support of Gov. Walker announced Friday her immediate resignation from the legislature and her decision not to contest the recall election citing family issues that required her immediate and undivided attention. The move made an immediate impact as Galloway’s resignation takes control of the Wisconsin Senate away from Republicans and splits it evenly between the parties, but it has long-term implications as well.
For starters, Galloway was a Tea Party favorite and was going to be tough to beat in the recall election. She’s had the ability to raise a lot of money. Galloway was facing Democrat Donna Seidel, a popular former county official from the Wausau-area and the assistant minority leader in the state Assembly. Seidel is now the front-runner in a race that should she win would tip the Senate to full control by Democrats.
It also means that the Walker administration has no choice but to work with Democrats from here on out. His entire union-busting budget and hyper-partisan redistricting and voter ID assault was made possible only because Republicans had control of every branch of government. This is no longer the case. State Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald, a Walker crony and recall target, now has to enter into a power-sharing agreement with minority leader Mark Miller, a progressive Democrat who led the progressive caucus walkout over the union bill last year.
Wisconsin shows that change in a democracy takes time. One year later and the state’s political landscape looks very different, and it’s a change only made possible thanks to a citizenry that just won’t give up.
Photo from ra_hurd via flickr.