MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will survive a recall election forced by opponents of a law he championed restricting the collective bargaining of unionized government workers, television networks NBC, CNN and CBS projected on Tuesday.
Actual returns showed Walker had about 61 percent of the vote to 39 percent for Democratic challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett with about 15 percent counted. But those results were heavily from Republican areas and were expected to narrow.
Walker is only the third governor in U.S. history to face a recall during his term in office. He angered Democrats and unions when he championed a law to severely restrict the collective bargaining of unionized state and local government workers. Walker said the changes were necessary to close a large state budget deficit.
His victory will give a boost to Republicans nationwide as they gear up for the presidential election in November.
The outcome also is a blow to organized labor, which poured money and massive voter turnout efforts into the contest.
Election spending broke all state records, with more than $60 million spent, including millions from so-called Super PACs, which are third parties not directly tied to the candidates which have blanketed the airwaves in Wisconsin with advertising.
Reporting By Greg McCune