Sources on both sides tell me they expect Democrats to struggle to hold Jim Holperin's Wausau seat in rural northeastern Wisconsin, which is expected to be the tightest of the three races. If they lose it, months of furious effort and a huge investment by national unions will have netted them a single senate seat, so the stakes are high for both sides.DailyKos is a bit more optimistic, having polled the two races and found the Democrats ahead by double digits. Wirch leads his opponent, 55-42, and Holperin leads Simac by 55-41. But special elections like these are notoriously difficult to predict accurately.
Still, if all goes well, David Nir writes,
Democrats will retain their 16 seats in the state Senate to the GOP's 17, putting the occasionally reasonable Republican Dale Schultz in the cat-bird seat. At that point, Democrats should consider further recalls early next year, when the Republicans first elected (or re-elected) in 2010 will be eligible. The playing field will be much more advantageous to us, since that batch of GOP-held seats contains a bunch that are bluer than most of those we contested this year, and it also includes a boatload of freshmen swept in on last year's red tide. We'll also only need one seat rather than three, and it's hard to see any of our remaining seats being vulnerable.And in a typical "what does it all mean for the next big election?" story, the Christian Science Monitor opines,
If both Democrats prevail, however, the election could offer further evidence that the country's broad political middle is swinging back left after the tea party triumphs of last November.