Republicans have won three races so far in Wisconsin's historic recall elections Tuesday, while a Democrat has won in the 32nd District. Two races remain up in the air -- tight contests in the 18th and 8th Districts -- and Democrats lead in both races.
Republican state Sen. Luther Olsen has held off his Democratic challenger, state Rep. Fred Clark, in the state's 14th District, giving Republicans their third victory Tuesday night - and so far, the most significant one. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, the AP has called the race for Olsen, who leads Clark 53 percent to 47 percent.
Despite the Republican tilt of the rural district that sits in the middle of the state, Democrats were optimistic about their chances in the race, and beyond districts 18 and 32, most viewed the 14th District as one of the top pickup opportunities for the party.
Democratic state Rep. Jennifer Shilling unseated Republican state Sen. Dan Kapanke in the 32nd District, giving Democrats their first win of the night. With 82 percent of precincts reporting, Shilling leads Kapanke 55 percent to 45 percent, according to the AP.
Observers considered Kapanke's 32nd District the most likely opportunity for a Democratic win on GOP turf. In April's state Supreme Court election, which was viewed as a referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's controversial collective-bargaining bill, liberal challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg outpaced the conservative incumbent and eventual winner, Justice David Prosser, by a margin of 58.3 percent to 41.6 percent in the district. In the 2008 presidential election, President Obama beat Sen. John McCain 50.5 percent to 48.1 percent.
Earlier Tuesday, Republican state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf won in the 10th District and Republican state Sen. Robert Cowles won in the state's 2nd Senate District. Cowles was expected to win, and Harsdorf's race was believed to be leaning-Republican heading into Tuesday.
Democrats need to net three seats during the entirety of the recall elections (two Democrats face recall elections on Aug. 16) to retake control of the state Senate, which Republicans controlled 19-14 going into Tuesday.