John Lehman Takes Oath Again for 21st Senate District
After being declared the winner of the recall election on June 5 and again after a recount, Sen. John Lehman was sworn into office Monday.
A group of about 100 supporters cheered for Sen. John Lehman Monday after he took the oath of office for the 21st Senate District.
Lehman ran against Republican Van Wanggaard in the 21st Senate District recall in a kind of rematch. Wanggaard defeated Lehman in November 2010, but when Wanggaard was targeted for recall, Lehman stepped forward as the challenger.
On June 5, Lehman was declared the winner by 834 votes. Wanggaard requested a recount that concluded July 2, again confirming Lehman the winner but by a slightly smaller margin of 819 votes. Wanggaard chose not to challenge the recount, leaving the Democrats with a majority - at least until November - in the state Senate.
It was standing room only in the courtroom where Judge Gerald Petak administered the oath of office.
The oath itself only took a few seconds, and afterwards, Lehman joked about the stack of Bibles on which he took the oath.
"I have six, one for each grandchild that's inscribed with today's date and why it's important," he explained. "So for your very own, go over to Commitments in West Racine and then stop over at Wilson's."
"To read it?" someone interjected.
Lehman laughed and agreed, and he reminded people to support local businesses.
Before calling Lehman and his wife, Cathy, up to the front, Petak said it was an appropriate setting given the history of the room.
"This is historic and since this is where all Racine County judges are sworn in, it's a good place to be," he said. "The recalls were unlike anything we've ever experienced and the level of debate they stirred is unprecedented."
It was also fitting to hold Lehman's ceremony in the courthouse, Petak added, because then all of Lehman's supporters could attend.
"It says something about John's character that he wanted to do this here instead of in Madison," he continued. "John thought of you first because he realizes the value of your hard work and the many hours you volunteered for this effort."
Just before he invited everyone to Infusino's for lunch, Lehman issued one more "thank you."
"But really, thank you for the months and months and months of work," he said. "We can finally say it's over."
Not quite, Petak said.
"We still have to a document to sign," he said, holding up the Oath awaiting both their signatures.