I’ll be live-blogging the Wisconsin recall vote for governor between Scott Walker and Tom Barrett until the votes, or the cows, come home, or chickens come home to roost, or… you get the idea.
2:00 Doug Henwood, who always thought a recall was a waste of time and resources and enthusiasm, now raises more issues  and asks the left not to “sugarcoat” the defeat… And a Matt Stoller blast  at Obama and his policies and the ‘wreckage” of the Left caused by following the president—and the recall deadend.
11:30 Final figure on turnout in Wisconsin: 57 percent. A record for governor’s race for past few decades—but actually below wide predictions of 60 to 65 percent, despite same-day registration.
9:55 Good wrap-up on the California vote  with some troubling results for Dems based on new “top two finishers” rule. One tossup House race now features no Dem in finals, and more. And for those who warned that Orly Taitz might become the GOPer in the finals facing Sen. Diane Feinstein—nah, did not happen.
9:50 Paul Begala on CNN today on Obama not going to Wisconsin: “I don’t think it would have made the difference. But it’s kind of like Thanksgiving at your in-laws. If you go, it doesn’t guarantee it’s going to be fun, but if you don’t go there’s going to be hell to pay.”
9:45 Matt Rothschild  in The Progressive on “brutal night” in his home state of Wisconsin.
9:10 Jamelle Boule at Wash Post debunks three “myths” about Wisconsin result , pointing out (1) many voters simply hate recalls, feeling it should only be for official misconduct, otherwise it’s such sour grapes; (2) therefore Obama visits would have had no effect; and (3) the big GOP money was not the most crucial factor, because in addition the economy had approved in the state.
9:00 Ezra Klein on unions weakening, corporation power gaining, and what’s next…
8:10 Video  of supporter slapping Tom Barrett when he conceded with many votes still to be counted.
7:50 Final margin with 100 percent in finds Walker with comfortable 7 percent win, by 53-46. Here’s  the NYT wrap. See Ben Adler and John Nichols pieces here at The Nation. There was at least one consolation: the Dems may have retaken the state senate . John Lehman held a 700-vote lead in one of the four recall races with a recount likely. The win is largely symbolic—the chamber may not meet again or at least do no serious business until after the next election, this November—but still it’s something.
11:30 pm Scott Walker opens speech “thanking God for his abundant grace.” And not the Koch brothers or five SCOTUS justices. Ungrateful cur.
11:25 Josh Marshall on “what it all means.” For one thing: “Enthusiasm is critical. But enthusiasm and passion is evanescent if it doesn’t live within robust institutions. Which brings us back to the power (or lack thereof) of the union movement and public impressions of it. Why Walker ceased to be unpopular is the big question here”… Greg Sargent  at Wash Post on new challanges (and landscape) for liberals and Dems….
11:15 Tom Barrett concedes (as crowd boos): “Please remain engaged, remain involved. We will continue to fight.” Lead down to 54–45 percent with 88 percent in.
10:50 For those predicting a tightening of race: with nearly 60 percent in, Walker still leads 58 percent–41 percent… Howard Kurtz tweets: “Don’t know final margin in Wisconsin recall, but Obama’s decision not to go there (and own the loss) was politically smart”… Ed Schultz tweets: “To say I’m shocked and stunned is an understatement.” Too much wishful thinking… NYT piece: Don’t turn back on unions …
10:40 Grover Norquist tweets: “There are 23 states with GOP Gov, House and Senate now able to pass Walkers reforms. They know it works and is safe”… Molly Ball at The Atlantic : “The Left picked a fight—and lost”… Mike Elk tweets: “tonite is the biggest lesson in why the labor movement needs reformed, a top down labor mvmt cant win in a Citizens United world.”
10:15 A lot of that “polishing” that Jon Stewart spoke of last night now happening on my TV tonight…
10:10 Howard Fineman tweets: “Exits were hinting at too-close-to-call late night but in the end it was a quick call for Walker—bad news for Dems, unions and Obama.”
10:05 GOP leaders on TV claiming some Dems in Wisconsin will stay home in November, angry that Obama did so little on recall. Wonder if true… Lawrence O’Donnell opens MSNBC show by claiming big winner in Wisconsin tonight is… Obama.
10:00 What does it mean that exit polls showed 12 percent edge for Obama but perhaps easy win for Walker. Anti-union fervor?
9:55 NBC just called it for Walker, probably by clear margin since it is amazingly early. Ed Schultz not buying it, then calls it “opportunity” for Democrats to regroup. Oh Jesus. Schultz: “No embarrassment in the loss.” Walker probably will out perform his vote last time… Presumably the GOP state legislators up for recall will also survive.
9:50 Walker up 60-38 percent with 17 percent in—presumably big GOP areas but still troubling.
9:30 Primaries in half a dozen other states today—and Rachel points out that Californians voting on new $1 added tax on cigarettes to go for cancer research. Massive recent spending by tobacco comings have shifted votes 14 percent in polls… Plus wacky new system in California puts all 23 candidates, from both parties, on same ballot for Senate contest and two top ones make the finals (could be two Dems, for example). One will be Diane Feinstein. The only other candidate with any name recognition: Birther queen, Orly Taitz… Plus a Dem vs Dem primary in New Jersey between two incumbent congressmen.
9:20 GOP naitonal chairman gleefluly predicting mass defections from Obama in November if Walkers wins—Dems allegedly furious that Obama did so well for Barrett.
9:15 Early exit polls gave Obama a six-point edge over Romney among voters today but CNN just cited a final one with a 12 percent bulge for Obama. Whether that augurs well for Barrett is not known. Poll found that voters from union households backed Barrett with 64 percent of vote but I’m not sure if that is high number or not.
9:10 CNN just switched from Wisconsin to Piers Morgan at Buckingham Palace for more Queen coverage, despite mockery from Daily Show and others.
8:00 Progressives on TV calling Wisconsin a “win” for Democrats, even if Barrett loses, due to turnout and enthusiasm. I disagree completely. If anything, it will inspire GOPers to (1) crack down on unions etc. (2) raise more money to defeat Dem candidates and Obama in swing states this fall. And more.
7:55 Turnout over 100 percent in some Wisc. areas. How? Same-day registration. Not enough ballots printed in some places, we are told.