Democrats: We control state Senate

Lehman challenging Wanggaard for seat
Democrats: We control state Senate

State Senate Democrats are moving ahead as if they have regained control of the chamber through Tuesday’s recall elections even though the crucial race is too close to call.

The Senate stood divided 16-16 between Republicans and Democrats heading into the elections.

Unofficial results from the race in Racine’s 21st Senate District showed Democratic challenger John Lehman leading incumbent Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard by less than 800 votes, and Wanggaard has refused to concede.

Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller has declared himself majority leader regardless. He held a news conference to say he’s already spoken to Republican Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald about details of the transition.

“I expect both (Fitzgerald) and Sen. (Michael) Ellis will be respectful of the institution and our traditions. We’ve always had smooth transitions in the past and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that happens,” Miller said.

Fitzgerald said Miller’s stance is premature. He spoke to Miller but only about meeting to discuss committee structures if Democrats have indeed won the chamber.

Miller said he’ll take part in a brats and beer get-together the governor proposed to bring the state house together again

Meanwhile, Republican state Sen. Dale Schultz said he thinks it will take more than brats and beer to bring lawmakers back together.

“The public, right now, feels like the train is coming off the tracks, that the wheels are falling off the train,” he said. “And we need to acknowledge that and to act accordingly.”

Schultz said that going from demonizing the other side one day to working together the next isn’t going to come easy.