The recall elections are an attempt to change the partisan balance of power in the Wisconsin Senate, which currently has 19 Republicans and 14 Democrats. In addition to the six Republicans facing recalls Tuesday, two Senate Democrats face recall elections on Aug. 16.
Even if Democrats are victorious and take control of the chamber, however, they will be unable to roll back the legislation already passed by Gov. Scott Walker (R) and the state Assembly, which remains under Republican control.
Nonetheless, pent-up anger over the union bill unleashed recall elections that have smashed state spending records. Interest-group spending has already topped $28 million, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan group in Madison tracks campaign financing in the state. The previous record for any election cycle was $20 million in 2008.
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign predicts that once both elections are finished, total spending will have topped nearly $40 million.
The race in the Eighth Senate District, which includes Whitefish Bay, has topped the spending list. In total, the race between state Sen. Alberta Darling (R) and her Democratic challenger, state Rep. Sandy Pasch, has seen $7.9 million in spending, the highest ever on an individual state race, topping the previous record of $3 million.