Wisconsin Democrats moved closer to controlling the state Senate today after a recount showed Democrat John Lehman defeated Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard in last month’s recall elections, though the incumbent said his campaign was pondering a lawsuit challenging the results. A Lehman victory in Racine County’s 21st Senate District would give Democrats a one-seat majority in the chamber until the November elections. Lehman issued a two-sentence statement saying he looks forward to joining his colleagues in the Senate. But Wanggaard refused to concede. “I will spend the next couple of days reviewing the evidence, speaking with voters, supporters, and my family before deciding my next step,” Wanggaard said in a statement.The official canvas following the June 5 elections showed Lehman leading Wanggaard by 834 votes out of nearly 72,000 ballots cast. After suffering embarrassing defeats in five other recall races, Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona, took the bold step of declaring himself the majority leader even though Wanggaard never conceded. Wanggaard made a formal request for a recount on June 15. Counting began on June 20 and wrapped up around midday today. The final tally showed Lehman ahead by 819 votes.
Democrats don’t control the Senate yet, though. State law calls for the Government Accountability Board to wait five business days before it can certify the results and declare Lehman the official winner. Wanggaard, meanwhile, contends the election was marred by sloppy administration and has hinted he may file a lawsuit.