Madison, Wis. — For Wisconsin progressives, the winter protests in the capitol were just the beginning. On Tuesday, six Republican state senators could be ousted from office for supporting first-term Republican governor Scott Walker, whose fiscal reforms have shocked the state bureaucracy and public-sector unions. If Democrats pick up three seats, they will take control of the upper chamber, which currently has a 19–14 Republican majority. The August elections were spurred by labor activists who collected enough signatures earlier this year to force the state to hold recall votes. Since then, more than $30 million has been poured into the contests, which both parties view as a proxy fight over Walker’s record in the run-up to the 2012 cycle.
Republicans are worried. Though conservative justice David Prosser won a rocky supreme court campaign earlier in the year, Walker’s poll numbers are anemic. Worse, the August election could feature low turnout from Republicans, who may not be as engaged in summer politicking as left-wing voters. To gin up the Right, the Tea Party Express has been making stops around the state, drawing hundreds to picnic-style rallies. But no one is sure how much that will help. Outside groups of all stripes have been crowding television screens and telephone lines, which many voters find exhausting following months of brutal political battles in the Badger State.
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