Updated 10:10 p.m.: Wirch Ready to Get Back to Work in Madison; Steitz Thankful for Support
Patch editors will spend the evening with State Sen. Bob Wirch and challenger Jonathan Steitz as they face off to see whether Wirch will keep his seat or if Republican Steitz will take it from him.
10:15 p.m. Steitz statement at end of night
Caledonia Patch editor Denise Lockwood has this report:
Despite losing the race, Jonathan Steitz said he wouldn’t change a thing, and that God must have a purpose for him and he thanked his supporters.
“My three year old doesn’t care that I lost, she still gives me a hug,” Steitz said.
“I know that God has a plan for my life. I know that in a year, or two years or 15 years – that there was purpose in this. And I know there was purpose in me not prevailing and I have a lot of confidence in that.”
The crowd clapped, and shouted “Amen” and “We love you.”
Steitz said he didn’t want the crowd to be discouraged either.
10:10 p.m. Wirch statement at end of night
Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch editor Heather Asiyanbi brings this report:
A long line of well-wishers lined up to shake Wirch's hands and say "congratulations" and even get a hug from their Senator. Wirch said he won because constituents recognize that he fights for the underdog by fighting for consumer protections like helping people keep their homes.
"It's about helping people solve their problems," he said.
Wirch plans to take some time tomorrow to relax and then it's back to work in Madison on Thursday.
"I have so much work to do that's just waiting on my desk," he said.
Part of that work includes shopping a bill he wrote with Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) that eliminates the one-week waiting period for people collecting unemployment benefits and helping Boy Scouts around the state obtain their citizenship badges.
9:55 p.m. More from Wirch's party
Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch editor Heather Asiyanbi brings this report:
Cheers went up at Wirch's victory party when it was announced that Jim Holperin had also successfully defended his state senate seat against Republican challenger Kim Simac.
With both Democratic seats intact, the balance in the state Senate remains 17/16, which means, if Senator Schultz from Richland Center goes with the more moderate view on some issues, Governor Scott Walker's initiatives could have a harder time getting approved.
Holperin represents the 12th district, in northern Wisconsin.
Update from Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch editor Heather Asiyanbi.
Wirch gave his victory speech, saying Wisconsin has the nicest people in the world ... until you make them mad! The crowd cheered wildly and then Wirch thanked his wife and kids for their unwavering support.
But Wirch also said it's time now to get back to work, to get back to civility using the energy built up for this campaign to reclaim the state.
The crowd responded with a rousing chant of "Recall Walker," and after a minute or so, Wirch held up his hand for quiet.
He asked the crowd to keep the movement going. He thanked everyone from the bottom of his heart and left the stage.
Another update from Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch editor Heather Asiyanbi.
Wirch's supporters cheered him onto the stage at 9:30 p.m.
With 94 of 95 polls reporting in Kenosha County, Wirch had 21,327 votes to Jonathan Steitz's 14,840. In Racine County, town and city of Burlington votes came in for Steitz, with 2,863 votes to state Sen. Bob Wirch's 2,078 votes. All totals are unofficial, according to the Kenosha County Clerk and Racine County Clerk offices.
Combined, as of 9:35 p.m., Wirch had 23,405 votes and Steitz 17,703.
9:30 p.m. Steitz election party
Another update from Caledonia Patch editor Denise Lockwood.
People at Republican Jonathan Steitz’s campaign headquarters at the Brat Stop remain positive about the outcome of the 22nd District election.
Hundreds crowded into a banquet room at the Brat Stop as they discussed the polling activity and moods were positive until about 9:10 p.m., when someone announced the numbers were going the wrong way.
Dan Hunt, Steit’s campaign manager, said the results coming out from west Kenosha County and Burlington were pretty much where they expected them to be.
The west end of the county has historically voted more Republican while the City of Kenosha has typically voted more Democratic.
“The turnout has turned out to be far higher than predicted,” Hunt said.
Hunt said Steitz is cautiously optimistic.
A few minutes later, Steitz supporters got word that Wirch had declared victory.
9:20 p.m. Election results
Racine County results are in, tallying votes cast in the town and city of Burlington. Jonathan Steitz won there, with 2,863 votes to state Sen. Bob Wirch's 2,078 votes. Steitz took 57.76 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Racine County Clerk's Office.
In Kenosha County, where most votes will be cast, 65 of 95 polls have reported results. There, Wirch has pulled ahead, with 15,941 votes to Steitz's 11,479.
Combined, Wirch has 18,019 to Steitz's 14,342.
Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch editor Heather Asiyanbi says people at the Wirch party keep coming by to ask for vote updates. People there are saying these are the results they expected.
9:15 p.m. Wirch election party
Another report from Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch editor Heather Asiyanbi.
Wirch supporters continue to trickle in to the campaign party. And it is a party atmosphere. People are mingling, laughing, and even gathering around the Patch computer to check results through the Kenosha County website and from FOX 6 News to be sure the numbers are consistent.
Word is spreading that Steitz took Burlington, but by a small percentage and people are looking at that result as good news since they expected Steitz to get bigger numbers out there.
9 p.m. Steitz election party
Caledonia Patch editor Denise Lockwood is at the Jonathan Steitz election party at the Brat Stop.
The mood is high at the packed election night party for Republican Jonathan Steitz, who is trying to take State Sen. Bob Wirch's seat away from him in the Aug. 16 recall election.
8:45 p.m. Election results
With nine out of 95 districts reporting, the vote totals are:
Jonathan Steitz 3,119
Bob Wirch 2,647
8:30 p.m. Wirch election party
Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch Local Editor Heather Asiyanbi is at Sen. Bob Wirch's election night party at the UAW in Kenosha. She sent in several photographs, which we're posting now.
Supporters at the Wirch campaign party are in good spirits and applauded loudly when their candidate arrived at about 8:10. Tables are decorated with yellow and green table cloths; yellow and green bowls are on tables with chips and nuts. A long table set up in front of the stage has a variety of catered and homemade foods arranged for supporters.
The mood is jolly and everyone is pretty relaxed given the stakes of this election.
For his part, Wirch said he is only focused on winning this race. Once the election is over and he wins (he said with a smile), he will focus on the future and what this election means in relation to the redistricting maps.
Posted at 6 p.m.
State Sen. Bob Wirch, D-Pleasant Prairie, will learn tonight if voters want him to keep his seat. He is one of two Democratic senators on Wisconsin ballots today, after opponents collected enough signatures to force a recall election.
Republican Jonathan Steitz is challenging Wirch for the seat.
Wirch does not currently represent area voters, but the redistricting plan Gov. Scott Walker signed into law last week puts Wirch and Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, in the same district. Wanggaard currently represents Caledonia, Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant residents, as well as residents in some surrounding municipalities.
Patch editors Heather Asiyanbi and Denise Lockwood are heading to the Wirch and Steitz election parties in Kenosha County tonight, and will be reporting on the results as they come in.
Keep coming back to Patch for the latest news on this recall election. We'll post updates here as they come in.