Wisconsin held a series of recall elections over the course of a year, giving voters a chance to decide whether they approved of one-party rule by Governor Scott Walker and his anti-labor Republicans.
For most of the national media, the only story that mattered -- at least the only story they've bothered to tell -- is that of Walker's victory. Thanks to a massive infusion of our-of-state cash, the governor retained his office -- albeit by the narrowest re-elect margin for a Republican governor since 1968.
But Wisconsinites always knew there was more to the story of the fight to check and balance Walker. And, this week, they successfully completed the critical struggle, ending the governor's complete control of state government.
From his election in 2010, Walker controlled not just the executive
branch but, for all intents and purposes, the legislative branch. A pair
of loyal Republican lieutenants, brothers Jeff and Scott Fitzgerald,
made sure that the governor's wish was their command -- with Jeff
Fitzgerald running the state Assembly as its speaker and Scott
Fitzgerald running the
Without the Fitzgerald brothers, Walker could not have advanced his agenda.
When Walker was elected, Republican control of both chambers seemed to be assured for the whole of his first two years. That was particularly true in the powerful state Senate, where the GOP held a wide 19-14 advantage. The only power the Democrats had was that of withdrawing consent by leaving the state, as the fourteen dissenters did when Walker began moving to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees.