Next Wis. recall elections may not be so easy

By DINESH RAMDE | July 20, 2011 | 4:30 AM EDT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The recall elections targeting Wisconsin lawmakers amid the bitter fallout from the state's new collective bargaining law began in lackluster fashion with a Democratic senator easily keeping his seat.

But the other eight races may not be so easy, and the stakes are high: If Democrats win five of those races, they'll retake control of the Wisconsin Senate and gain key momentum in their efforts to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

The elections stem from the law Walker pushed that strips most public workers of their collective bargaining rights.

On Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Dave Hansen defeated Republican David VanderLeest during the first of those elections with 66 percent of the vote. But unlike VanderLeest, candidates challenging the other two Democrats and six Republicans have plenty of money and party support.