Time to break out the champagne, via ABC News:
Wisconsin voters rejected a year-long effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and replace him with Democratic challenger Tom Barrett.
The recall started last year as a local fight over Walker’s efforts to curb public unions in his state. But with its fierce debate over how to resolve the country’s budget woes and tens of millions of outside political money pouring into the state, the recall has morphed into what many view as a preview of what to expect this fall when Obama battles GOP nominee Mitt Romney for the Oval Office.
The victory for is a boon to Walker and Republicans in this battleground state that opted for President Obama by nearly 15 percent four years ago. It may also be interpreted as a validation of Walker’s confrontational efforts to curb public employee unions.
Update: More news from Wisconsin keeps rolling in.
From the AP:
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has survived a recall election, defeating the Democratic mayor of Milwaukee to keep the state’s top political job.
Walker becomes the first governor in American history to stay in office after a recall challenge.
The Republican governor rose to national prominence last year after taking on public-sector unions shortly after being sworn in. That fight also triggered the recall and set up a rematch with Tom Barrett, who was defeated by Walker in 2010.
Walker argued his policies were necessary to confront the state’s budget problems.
The loss is a blow to Democrats and to unions that spent millions to oust Walker.
A two-year saga of recall elections, public demonstrations, litigation and legislative walkouts hurtled to a finish Tuesday as Wisconsin voters turned out in massive numbers to vote on whether to keep Republican Gov. Scott Walker in office.
A half-dozen states are casting ballots today in House and Senate primary elections, but it is on Wisconsin — the site of a historic Democratic campaign to oust a sitting governor — where the eyes of the political world are trained. Polls closed at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
NBC, Fox and CNN projected around 10 p.m. that Walker would likely survive. The television networks initially reported that the final wave of exit polling showed the race was too close to call, with CBS News characterizing Walker and his Democratic challenger, Tom Barrett, as “neck and neck.”
From Fox News:
Wisconsin residents on Tuesday voted in favor of keeping GOP Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election organized after he eliminated collectively bargain agreements for most state employees to cut a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall.
Fox News called the race shortly before 10 p.m. Eastern Time.
Walker in surviving the recall election, beat back a challenge by Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
The recall effort started about 18 months after the first-term governor eliminated collectively bargain agreements for most state employees, in an effort to cut Wisconsin’s multi-billion dollar budget shortfall.
Democrats and unions argued that Walker had gone too far, then helped organize massive statehouse protests and gather 900,000 signatures for the recall vote. The effort began shortly after the state legislature agreed last year to Walker’s proposal, which also requires most public state workers to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits.
Roughly $63 million was spent on the race, with much of Walker’s money coming from outside of the state.
Update II: Via Real Clear Politics, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz needs his meds:
“Certainly it is not the end and it’s going to be an opportunity for the progressive movement to regroup nationally and understand exactly what they are up against,” a teary-eyed Schultz lamented.
“And this sets the template for the Republicans and tells the right-wing in this country that if they can outfund their opponent they have a real good shot as winning,” Schultz, an enthurasatic supporter of President Barack Obama in 2008 said toward the end of the segment.
Ed Schultz concluded the segment by making a wild assertion. “Scott Walker could very well be indicted in the coming days,” the MSNBC host said.