Senators Wirch, Holperin hold onto senate seats - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Senators Wirch, Holperin hold onto senate seats


MADISON (WKOW) -- Two close recall races end Tuesday with the Democratic senators keeping their seats.

Democratic Sen. Jim Holperin, of Conover, beat tea party Republican Kim Simac of Eagle River in District 12. When the race was called, Holperin was up 54 percent to Simac's 46 percent.

Democrat Bob Wirch, of Pleasant Prairie, was declared the winner in the District 22 recall race for senate, according to the Associated Press. The unofficial results were called with 70 percent of the precincts in the district reporting. Wirch had 56 percent of the vote compared with 44 percent for his Republican challenger Jonathan Steitz.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The last of this summer's recall elections give state senate Republicans a chance to win back the two seats they lost a week ago.

Two democratic state senators find out tonight whether they get to keep their seats.

In southeastern Wisconsin, Senator Robert Wirch faces Republican challenger Jonathan Steitz for District 22. In the northeast, District 12, Senator Jim Holperin faces Kim Simac.

Democrats picked up two seats in last week's recall election, leaving Republicans with a 17-16 advantage in the senate.

Both Wirch and Holperin were among the 14 democratic senators who left the state in February to stall Gov. Scott Walker's budget bill.

But Holperin is believed to be more vulnerable tonight, and he expects a close race, despite having more experience than his challenger.

Holperin says he knows his decision to leave the state in opposition to Gov. Walker's budget bill wasn't popular with everyone.

"A lot of people will probably vote against me on that issue, but for everyone I find who is opposed to what I did, there's somebody who supports what we did and says to me, 'Good job, Jim. You did your duty, you did well by me and gave me a voice in this process.'"

The 12th Senate district hasn't elected a Republican since the 1970's. Holperin was first elected to the senate out of District 12 in 2008.

Holperin's challenger is Republican Kim Simac, who would become Wisconsin's first elected tea party member of the legislature with a win tonight.

Simac was the one leading the effort to gather more than 23,000 signatures to recall Senator Holperin. She says Holperin ran away, instead of staying to fight for the people of the Northwoods.

"It really matters to the people of these two races because there two races were based on what I believe are real issues and that was an elected official who ran to the state of Illinois when we needed them the most," said Simac. "I believe this of the most importance to people of this district and I believe the high turnout is going to show that."

Simac says they just wrapped up a 200-mile week meeting as many people as she could in this district and she says today she is feeling very optimistic. 

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