In this race, the facts and numbers speak volumes. The Huffington Post map of the county by county break-down gave me the first insight that NBC calling the race as early as they did was not a fluke. Craig Gilbert at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who's break down of elections to the masses is invaluable, has time and time again shown just how important each parties base is in winning elections. Tuesday, Democrats and the Twitterverse thought much along the same lines, in thinking that turning out the Milwaukee-Madison vote was enough, or at least the most important part in overtaking the Governor's rural strength. In fact, as the country as a whole has become more polarized, any novice pol can see that how Wisconsin has voted over the last decade has consisted on each side turning out their respective "base counties". But not this time.
Last year after the April Supreme Court race, I noted on Twitter the importance of turning out the Fox Valley in northeastern Wisconsin. Being a near lifelong resident of bleeding red Fond du Lac, I have yet to figure out why this city votes so Republican. I also have little understanding in why Winnebago County which is old time blue collar has gone Republican in these last two elections. This is an area of the state that Democrats need to make inroads and do voter education on. Simple drive-by ads may work wonders on voters, but to get them consistently in our column, we need education. (Something Walker clearly has it out for on multiple fronts)
One last word on maps: They tell you everything.
2006 Governors race:
I take out 2008 because of it being a Presidential election year and turnout being generally crazy.
Here's 2010. Look at the blue and pink turnout in western Wisconsin.
Then 2011 happened. Jen Schilling easily won in her seat and nobody was too surprised based on the general history of the La Crosse area.
Now, look at the map from last night:
La Crosse was a fluke in 2010, but most everything else is identical, if not TRENDING Republican.
Walker won the West. It's just that simple. You want to pinpoint one area where Democrats need to win, it's the La Crosse & Eau Clare TV markets. Trempealeau, Eau Clare, Crawford, all the counties that surround La Crosse? Walker over-performed there in 2010, and he improved on those totals again last night. Trempealeau improved upwards of 10%! I don't care how many voters you turn out on the north side of Milwaukee, you aren't overcoming that when your don't improve on your percentage.
Don't kid yourself... Citizens United has a role in this component of elections. Grassroots liberals can turn out Milwaukee and Madison, and Conservatives can turn out the "rim" counties. But when it comes to counties who like to flip-flip based on the top of the ticket, money = speech.
Senate District 21
If you're a liberal, this is pretty much the only seat we had a real chance in winning. As of right now, it's looking like John Leahman (D) is going to defeat Sen. Van Wanggard (R), although the Senator has not yet conceded the election. The fact that Wanggard hasn't conceded seems to have gotten very little play around the state today in lieu of the gubernatorial election and that it seems very unlikely that he will overcome the vote deficit. The usually reserved Illusory Tenant was short sweet and to the point on that today, as it is one of the few silver linings Dem's had last night.
Truth be told, this is probably the greatest thing that could have happened last night aside from Walker getting knocked off. This recall giving firm control to Democrats means the likelyhood of any Special Sessions being called is zilch, and just that much more time for Dem's to figure out how in the hell they can win in November and keep Rep. Vos from running this state. (You really think that once Scooter is indicted Lt. Gov. Kleefisch is going to know what to do?)