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. 

9:45 p.m.

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. 

9:35 p.m.

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. 

Jeff Simon August 17, 2011 at 01:12 AM
Be interested to correlate the amount of money spent on the campaigns, and especially out of state money, with the results.
Tom August 17, 2011 at 01:17 AM
Wirch will always be remembered by many as a coward who ran and stopped the democractic process for weeks because he couldn't get his way.
jojitsu August 17, 2011 at 01:32 AM
Wirch will always be remembered as a brave hero who ran and stopped the undemocratic process promulgated by the tea party nut cases who tried to ram a bill through the legislature before The People had a chance to find out what was in said bill. Thank God for Bob Wirch
Sean Waiss August 17, 2011 at 01:45 AM
Kind of like our national body who insisted on passing legislation before reading it, by saying, "But we have to pass the [health care ] bill so that you can find out what is in it." Oh, wait, that's the Democrat Party so that's makes it okay!?
Brian Dey August 17, 2011 at 01:46 AM
Wirch is a union lackie who was not man enough to do his job. Simply put, he deserves to get defeated. He should be ashamed and those that support him; shame, shame, shame.
Brian Dey August 17, 2011 at 01:47 AM
Maybe he could run in Illinois...
Duane Michalski August 17, 2011 at 01:48 AM
@ jojitsu...really??? What bill was that? The one the dems had for three days BEFORE it was brought to the floor? The same one that had three days of debate on the floor? Oh yes that's the one. The one that took collective bargaining PRIVALEGES (not a right) away from the union hacks that don't appreciate a damn thing! If you thank anyone for bouncing bob wirch,,,,it should be Satan!!
Mari P. August 17, 2011 at 04:00 AM
Congrats to the Senators who held their seats. Wisconsin has been national news for quite some time. As a volunteer canvasser here in Nevada with grassroots organizing, I know how much work, time, and voter contact went into the Democratic campaigns. Wisconsin is an inspiration....truely breathtaking. Good job!
St. Swithin August 17, 2011 at 06:02 AM
Sean, The ACA was debated for four months before bringing to a vote. Many revisions requested by Republicans were included in the final bill. You are mis-quoting Pelosi out of context. She was referring to all the lies Republicans were saying about the health care bill. Look it up.
Duane Michalski August 17, 2011 at 10:32 AM
FOR SALE...three bedroom two and a half bathroom dump. Needs new landscaping. Will also need new drywall. The reason for the sale.... owner is a usless union hack that just got redistricted out of his home. Contact seller in Illinois at some dive bar while playing footsie with some bar rag instead of doing his job!
JW August 17, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Votes are votes... Wirch has been validated by those he represents... STILL... I think it sends a terrible message to not recall those who left the State. Being on our payroll, there is no way that was right nor was it setting a good example. If people do not like something, they should stand up, write against it, protest if they must, but #1 DO THEIR JOB ad do the rest on their own time... whether you are a teacher or a politician. Those who stopped doing their jobs feeling that is their right when they disagreed with what is going on in Madison should have been held accountable for those actions. I am a moderate independent, so I am not saying this from alignment to either side, just simple right and wrong. Republicans won the last wave and by doing so won the right to push their agenda, those who do not like it have to vote to replace them and win to change things. Protesting in Madison or leaving the State, is simply acting foolish and like babies. It was embarrassing, not respectable.
Sean Waiss August 17, 2011 at 12:49 PM
Bill, you are correct that the bill referenced was passed by the Senate three months prior to Pelosi's statement, but that only adds to the absurdity of her statement. The context of her quote was at a National Association of Counties conference and the entire quote was: "You've heard about the controversies within the bill, the process about the bill, one or the other. But I don't know if you have heard that it is legislation for the future, not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America, where preventative care is not something that you have to pay a deductible for or out of pocket. It's going to be very, very exciting. But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy." Where have I taken her out of context?
Sean Waiss August 17, 2011 at 01:03 PM
So Bill, given that the ACA was modified from the Senate-passed version, was rammed through without being fully vetted (re: Pelosi's quote), and the fact that a much smaller bill was introduced in the Wisconsin Statehouse and debated for almost a week before the Democrats fled the state, can you explain any other difference between how each was handled? One opposing group stood it's ground and continued to debate until the legislation was passed - the other opposing group was the Democrats who fled. Now, before I get painted as a right wing nutjob (if it's not too late), I consider myself a moderate conservative with no party allegiance. I have voted for Democrats in the past, though I admit most of my ballots are cast for a Republican. I do not vote straight ticket. My point in all of this is frustration that the democratic process (not the party) was bastardized and held hostage by a small group of public officials who decided they didn't like the game, which they set the rules for, when the tables were turned on them and they realized that they could no longer "win" the game. My frustration is with the fact that politics is no longer a public service but a game that must be won at all costs. This applies at all state and Federal levels, not only Wisconsin. How many millions of dollars were blown in these recalls, which could have been instead utilized for much grander uses (even though we know the money would not have been freed up for anything else)?
Marilyn Husting August 17, 2011 at 04:24 PM
I have to agree with you, 100%. I do have my doubts, as to how this so-called political process really works\or actually doesn't work. I will never understand, how one party can "leave" when the going gets tough and then come back and resume their position. Doesn't say a lot about their supporters!
St. Swithin August 17, 2011 at 05:56 PM
Sean, I am a little frustrated that you read the whole quote and still don't see what Pelosi was saying. Her "fog of the controversy" referred to media mis-information about the content of the bill. For example: "death panels". I remember following the vigorous debate over the months that was being reviewed and modified. I had no problem finding out the real details of the bill and the points of contention as long as I avoided Fox News. I was actually disappointed in several of the concessions Dems gave to Repubs. I was rather impressed Pelosi managed to rally the Dems to pass the bill. There were several times when it was declared dead. All this took many months. Further note that Obama campaigned on health care. In Wisconsin the legislature quietly added several items to the budget that had not been mentioned during the election. Dems took advantage of the quorum rules to cause a media stink and bring public attention to the details of the bill. I was surprised the Dems could actually be so organized. Normally it is the Repubs who march in lockstep while the Dems wander around looking befuddled. Generally I like government to move slowly, so this chance to delay the bill and open it to public scrutiny is something I approved of. My final point is that doing something wrong cannot be excused by pointing to someone else doing the same thing.
Barb August 17, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Wirch Ready to Get Back to Work in Madison; until the next time he needs to run to Illinois when he doesn't like something Walker says! Waaa waaa......
JW August 17, 2011 at 08:32 PM
That's what concerns me... that some politicians will view winning recalls after leaving the State as indication that they can leave the State whenever they want to oppose a vote and do not have the votes to win their side. I don't want to see EITHER side use that tactic again... it was disgusting. Citizens voting both during elections and then politicians voting on issues once they are in office is what should matter, playing games to hold votes you cannot win is unproductive and I think amounts to fraud (taking pay to NOT to your job and hold up the jobs of others). That was stealing, plain and simple and that is why I think those who left the State instead of remaining in Madison to do their job SHOULD have been recalled. If either side doesnt like what the other is doing, they need to go out and win elections enough to be in charge and then be able to push their policies... using costly tactics to stop the voting process should be punished, not rewarded.
patchreader 123 August 17, 2011 at 09:59 PM
Agreed. Unfortunately, the Wisconsin version is nothing new. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703803904576152671349641088.html There should be federal laws passed forbidding such quorum avoidance tactics on both state and federal levels. Such tatctics accomplish nothing, except for wasting taxpayer dollars.
Barb August 17, 2011 at 10:08 PM
The rules regarding recalls should definitely be changed. When people called for a recall of Tom Ament when there was the Milwaukee City Pension scandal that was justified. He did something that was wrong. Just because these liberals don't like what Gov. Walker is doing, they shouldn't be allowed to demand a recall, especially since it costs us dearly to recall.
hcampbell52@sbchlobal.met June 05, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Great. News. For. Working. Class. All. Over. America. I. Salute. Wisconsin k


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