A local NBC affiliate in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Republicans in Wisconsin are worried that a few GOP state senators are "wavering" or "going wobbly" and may be willing to strike a deal with Democrats on the budget repair bill.
But state senator Alberta Darling, a Republican targeted for recall by unions, tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that she's standing strong--and so are her colleagues.
"I am very much committed to doing what I said I would do," says Darling of efforts to balance the budget without raising taxes. She says that limiting collective bargaining to wages is "necessary to get our fiscal house in order."
Is there any indication that a few of her colleagues might be willing to compromise on collective bargaining? "No, no, we're solid," she says, pointing out that the other day 18 of the 19 senate Republicans attended a unity press conference with governor Walker. "I don't know how they would strike a deal if we [only] have 1 person out of 19 who wants to strike a deal." Darling says she's "absolutely" prepared to defend the bill and her vote if she faces a recall election this summer.
"Am I concerned [about a recall election]? Of course. Will it change my vote? No. I mean let's face it. What do I have? I have my integrity," says Darling. "As an elected official all I have is my integrity. "
Eight GOP state senators could potentially face recall elections this summer. Darling, Dan Kapanke, and Randy Hopper are three of the most vulnerable senators, given the partisan makeup of their districts and slim margins of victory last election. All three state senators have now told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that they're not backing down on the legislation, including the part dealing with collective bargaining. State senator Sheila Harsdorf, another Republican eligible for recall but who has a more Republican district, also told TWS on February 24 that the collective bargaining reform was a necessary part of the bill.
While it isn't unheard of for a politician to say one thing and do another, it would be quite odd for them to publicly defend the collective bargaining provisions of the bill so vigorously while privately looking to compromise on the bill.