MILWAUKEE Nov 7 Republicans took back control
of the Wisconsin state legislature, five months after Democrats
seized a slim majority of the upper chamber during a nasty fight
over Governor Scott Walker's measures to curb public sector
The election result on Tuesday represented the third switch
in party control of the state Senate in two years because of the
bitter battle over unions.
Republicans first took control of the state Senate in the
2010 elections, then lost it in June after Democrats and unions
staged a series of successful recalls of conservative lawmakers
who had supported the union restrictions.
But before the recalls Walker and his fellow Republican
legislative leaders had redrawn district lines to favor them.
After Tuesday's election, Republicans emerged with a preliminary
17-15 majority in the Senate and a comfortable majority in the
House of Representatives or Assembly.
A special state Senate election to be held in December in a
Republican stronghold is expected to add to the party's power in
the 33-member chamber.
Wisconsin Republicans regained power in the state Senate
even though President Barack Obama won the state, and Democrat
Tammy Baldwin won the Wisconsin U.S. Senate race. Having
Wisconsin native Congressman Paul Ryan as Republican
presidential nominee Mitt Romney's runningmate did not appear to
help the party in national races.
When the Wisconsin legislature reconvenes in January,
Republicans are expected to have at least a 20-vote majority in
the Assembly, depending on final election tallies.
The majorities give Walker a largely free hand to shape the
state's next biennial budget. Walker told reporters Tuesday
night that he looks forward to helping small businesses by
reforming the tax code and regulatory process and by easing
access to capital for entrepreneurs.
"My belief is that many of the things that we will be
pursuing, the vast majority in fact, will be things that
Democrats and Republicans alike can support," Walker said.
Tuesday's victories mean Republicans will also have a second
chance to pass legislation to encourage mining exploration in
During the last legislative session early this year, Senate
Republicans were unable to garner enough votes for mining
Walker in June became the first governor in U.S. history to
survive a recall.
(Editing by James B. Kelleher and Greg McCune)