Wisconsin's state Senate recall contest ended Tuesday night with two incumbent Democrats holding onto their seats, reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Republicans still possess a majority in the chamber, but Democrats were able to pick off two seats held by the GOP in early August. Republicans now hold a narrow 17-16 edge in the chamber, making it harder for them to push through legislation.


A fight over Republican Gov. Scott Walker's successful effort to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights spurred Democrats and union supporters to begin the recall effort to take back the GOP-controlled state Senate.

While the effort fell short, it helped re-engage a Democratic base that had become stagnant in 2010. Because Wisconsin officeholders can only be recalled after one year in office, all of those on the ballot had last been elected in the Democratic wave year of 2008.

That all of the Democrats who rode President Obama's coattails survived and two of the six Republicans who had survived that tough year were knocked out this month shows that Democrats are back in a state that elected a Republican governor and senator and saw two U.S. House seats flip to the GOP in 2010.

The fight over state employees' union rights will continue to be a major issue through the 2012 elections in the swing state, which could be competitive at the presidential level and feature marquee races for the U.S. Senate and House.

"If I’m in Wisconsin, I’m not focusing my attention on the president, I’m focusing on Scott Walker," former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) told The Hill.

Many Democrats are still pushing an effort to recall Walker, and former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) has hinted he wants to run against the polarizing governor, although there are indications of "recall fatigue" in the state.