Walker: Election Results Show Voters Want Bipartisanship

Many saw Tuesday’s recall elections as a referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his policies earlier this year.

The governor wasn’t gloating Tuesday, as his party did lose two Senate seats even while it maintained its control of the state Senate by winning four of six recall elections Tuesday night. Instead, the governor was talking compromise on Wednesday.

Walker said he thinks Tuesday night’s recall elections show voters want more bipartisanship from their elected leaders.

“Back in November, voters told us they wanted us to focus on jobs and fix our financial problems,” said Walker, from his Capitol office on Wednesday.

Walker, reflecting on the recall elections, said the message from voters was only slightly different.

“I think what I heard, not just in the results but in the last couple months going around the state, was to continue to do that, but they want us to work harder at working together,” said Walker.

“When you say that people are wanting you to find a way to work together, what happened in the spring with the collective bargaining bill was clearly on partisan lines. Was that the wrong way to go if people wanted bipartisanship?” asked WISC-TV.

“I don’t think it’s about bipartisanship, but just working together,” said Walker. “I think that’s clearly the role they want. Now, in this Capitol, with Democrats in charge or Republicans in charge, you’re always going to have contentious times around the budget no matter who is in charge and what’s happening. The question is, where do we go from here? And I think that’s what this election was about.”

Walker said specifically he believes he can find common ground with Democrats on education reform and venture capital creation.

But in the meantime, the governor said he thinks these recalls have exhausted voters of elections, and it’s hard to tell whether he will be recalled.

“Hard to tell, you never know and none of this is predictable,” said Walker. “I think there is a pretty strong sentiment that people don’t want to see another round of literally tens of millions of dollars poured into Wisconsin in negative ads. They don’t want to live through year-round elections. So I think that’s going to be a pretty heavy deterrent.”

Democrats said they plan to move ahead with attempts to recall Walker from office next year.

Walker said he will “leave it up to the pundits” to decide whether Tuesday’s Republican victories take the wind out of efforts to recall him. He said he thinks he’ll ultimately be judged on his promise of creating 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

“I think most voters are going to say, ‘That’s what we want you to do,’ ” said Walker. “We wanted to get your attention; we wanted you to focus on working together, but we also want you to focus on creating jobs.”

“Is there enough time to create enough jobs to prove that to people?” asked WISC-TV.

“I think so. Obviously not all 250,000 will be done by next year, but I think even in these first six months, the results we’ve seen so far, the idea that it is working had an impact even on Tuesday’s elections,” said Walker.

WISC-TV also asked the governor about signing controversial redistricting legislation on the day of the recalls. He said because of procedural issues he had to sign the bill Tuesday and did so because he believes they meet court requirements. But Walker said he thinks they will likely face challenges in federal court.