Today, six recall elections are being held in Wisconsin, with Republican Senators are defending in all six. The Democrats need to win three of the six races tonight and then defend two recalls of their own next week in order to seize control of the Wisconsin Senate.
Mother Jones handicapped the races, finding the Democrat to be favored in two, Districts 18 and 32. It seems clear the Democrats will in fact win both of those races. Two have already been called for the Republican incumbent–Districts 2 and 10–and Luther Olsen is headed for victory in a race that was thought a toss-up.
So far, so good. But District 8, where Republican Alberta Darling was a heavy favorite, may be getting away from the GOP. Darling, the chairman of the Finance Committee, has been in the Senate for 20 years. But after a notably dirty race, the Democratic challenger has drawn even in the polls, and, with 40% of the vote recorded at this moment, holds a 56-44 lead. The Democrat, Sandy Pasch, is winning big in Milwaukee while Darling is way ahead in the suburban precincts in her district. But, unless I am misreading the numbers, it looks as though there are too many Milwaukee votes, and Pasch is heading for a victory. You can see a more detailed breakdown here.
If that is correct, the Democrats will take control of the Wisconsin Senate unless the GOP wins one of next week’s recall elections.
UPDATE: The District 8 race has tightened, and is now 52-48 in favor of Pasch. Washington County came up big for Darling. The Waukesha County precincts are slow to report, and they should be good for Darling. Currently there are 12 Milwaukee precincts outstanding, and 15 from Waukesha and Ozaukee Counties. So far tonight, the Milwaukee precincts are going 65-35 for the Democrat, and the Waukesha and Ozaukee precincts almost exactly the same for the Republican. So it looks like it will go down to the wire.
FURTHER UPDATE: Waukesha County came through for Darling, and she won by a not-particularly-close 54-46. Which means the GOP has retained control of the Wisconsin Senate. It would be nice to win back one of the two seats that were lost tonight next week.