Democrats gained two seats in the Wisconsin Senate in Tuesday's recall elections, not enough to take back majority control of the legislative body.
One of two was the seat held by incumbent Republican Sen. Dan Kapanke, who lost to Democratic state Rep. Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse.
U.S. Congressman Ron Kind, who represents the state's 3rd Congressional district, feels Shilling's victory made a statement.
"In the 32nd State Senate District race, voters sent a clear message - the political agenda that favors big special interests and ignores commonsense does not work in Wisconsin," said Kind in a statement issued Tuesday.
Nationwide interest in Wisconsin's recall election showdown has been intense. Gov. Scott Walker's controversial stance on gutting unionized state workers' rights ignited a series of recall elections across the state, as did the choice of many state Democratic legislators to flee the state to avoid votes on Walker's Budget Repair Bill.
The results of Tuesday's elections left the GOP in control of the State Senate, as four Republicans staved off recall challenges. In addition to Shilling's win, Democrat Jessica King, former deputy mayor of Oshkosh, defeated incumbent Sen. Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac.
Republicans who held on to their seats included: Sen. Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls; Luther Olson of Ripon; and Rob Cowles of Allouez.
The biggest victory for the GOP came in the final race, which saw State Sen. Alberta Darling beat back a challenge from Democrat Sandy Pasch with 54 percent of the vote, compared to 46 for Pasch. That race ended near midnight.
Based on early results, Shilling captured 55 percent of the vote in her race with Kapanke, who drummed up 45 percent of the vote.
According to county tallies, Schilling beat Kapanke 475-365 in Richland County. In Crawford County, Shilling won by a 2,996 to 2,558 margin, with a voter turnout of 57.7 percent and 27 precincts reporting.
Overall, the King-Hopper race was much closer, with King winning with 51 percent of the vote, compared to 49 percent for Hopper.
Next week, two Democratic incumbents face recalls. But even if they win, the Democrats will be in the minority.
With special interest money flowing into the state in record amounts, the recall elections were supposed to be a referendum on Gov. Walker's budget agenda and potentially signal which way Wisconsin would swing in the 2012 presidential race.
Tuesday's results, however, may not reveal much about how Wisconsin will vote in that election.