Politics makes strange bedfellows, but what about the lunch table?
After Wisconsin's bitterly contested recall election, Gov. Scott Walker says that he will attempts to unite Wisconsin politically over over burgers, brats and "maybe a little bit of good Wisconsin beer."
After defeating Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Tuesday, first in U.S. history that an incumbant is victorious in a recall election, Walker says his main concern moving forward is to “find ways to work together” and to “involve people in the process” which he plans on doing as early as next week over lunch.
"It's time to put our differences aside,” the governor said minutes after learning about his victory. "Maybe [over] a little bit of good Wisconsin beer."
There have only been three previous recalls in U.S. history. Walker had 53 percent of the vote, compared with 46 percent for Barrett.
The recall, sparked by a collection of more than 900,000 signatures after Walker decided to go after public employee unions, highlighted elections in a number of states which feature contested elections and ballot measures in California, New Jersey, and New Mexico, in addition to presidential primaries.
“I think it's important to fix things, but it's also important to make sure we talk about it and involve people in the process," Walker added. "The first step is just bringing people together and figuring out some way if we can thaw the ice," Walker said.
A few Democratic leaders are willing to hear Walker out in his quest to mend Wisconsin’s fragile political state.
Democrats, including State Rep. Peter Barca, Democratic minority leader in the Assembly, made it clear that Walker that a lot of work ahead of him.
"I hope Gov. Walker understands and stays true to his pledge to build consensus and be more inclusive going forward," said Barca.
Both the GOP and the Democrats warned against reading too much into Tuesday's results. Nonetheless, Walker’s victory poses a new challenge for President Barack Obama, who now must strive to win over a state, which back in 2008 was Democratic.
Thanks to Walker, Romney has hope to win over Wisconsin, a state in which Democrats have proudly won six consecutive presidential elections in the past.
"Gov. Romney has an opportunity ... to come in between now and Nov. 6 and make the case that he's willing to make those same sort of tough decisions," Walker told Fox News Channel the night before his win.
Because Wisconsin is one of four states whose elections the U.S. Justice Department is monitoring to ensure against discrimination, and protests as large as 100,000 swelled at the state Capitol when Walker released a plan that called on public workers to give up nearly all of their collective bargaining rights in an effort to control the state budget,Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said the recall was needed.
"This is a fight worth having," Tate said. "Some things are worth losing over."
The recall was pushed by powerful union leaders and citizens with little or no political experience including tens of thousands of teachers, state workers and others.
Despite efforts, tea-party-supported fiscal conservative remained steadfast. Walker believed his plan would help him control the state budget, and his opponents could not stop Republicans who control the state Legislature from approving his plans.
Walker went on to sign into law several other measures that fueled the recall; he repealed a law giving discrimination victims more ways to sue for damages, made deep cuts to public schools and higher education, and required voters to show photo identification at the polls.
Both sides mobilized thousands of people and millions of dollars to influence voters, whom polls showed were more divided than ever.
A whopping $66 million was spent on the race as of May 21. These funds were allocated for television ads, direct mail, automated calls and other advertising that permeated Wisconsin for months.
"Now it is time to move on and move forward in Wisconsin," Walker said after winning. “Tomorrow is the day after the election, and tomorrow we are no longer opponents."
Based on reporting by the Associated Press