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Sunday, April 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 60.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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Wisconsin GOP gamble on 'fake' recall candidates pays off

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To Andrew Kersten, one thing is clear from Tuesday's recall elections: Wisconsinites are nervous.

Though the Democrats managed to win only two of six Senate seats held by Republicans -- Jennifer Shilling defeated Dan Kapanke and Jessica King unseated Randy Hopper -- failing to win back the state Senate, most of the races were competitive.

"They're very nervous about the future of the system, says Kersten, a UW-Green Bay professor of democracy and justice, who recently published The Battle for Wisconsin: Scott Walker and the Attack on the Progressive Tradition. "For the moment in those safe Republican districts, there's still a small majority that want to give Scott Walker more time."

What effect will the recalls have on government? Kersten expects Republicans to double down on efforts to push their agenda. "The clock is ticking on Scott Walker," he says. "The other option is they could move toward the center. But I don't think that's in the Republican playbook for Wisconsin."

UW-Madison political science professor Barry Burden says that Democrats clearly suffered a blow in only gaining two seats. Republicans wisely delayed the general elections by running "fake" Democrats in primaries.

"By delaying the election, that bought them some time and allowed outside groups to come in and spend money," he says. "Had this been a quick election that depended on grass roots, the Democrats would have won quite a few of the seats."

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