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Two Wisconsin Republicans Fend Off Recall Efforts; Four Others Too Close to Call

Comstock/Thinkstock(MADISON, Wisc.) -- Two Republican Wisconsin state senators have reportedly fended off recall votes and held on to their seats, while four other races in the state Tuesday were too close to call.

Sen. Rob Cowles of Allouez and Sen. Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls defeated their Democratic challengers based on unofficial results, according to ABC affiliate WISN-TV in Milwaukee.

Cowles captured 58 percent of the vote compared with 42 percent for Democrat Nancy Nusbaum, with 81 percent of precincts reporting, according to WISN-TV.

Harsdorf had 58 percent of the vote compared with 42 percent for Democrat Shelly Moore, WISN-TV reported.

Outside groups poured millions of dollars into the state for television advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts. Democrats' goal was to take three of the seats to gain control of the state Senate from the Republicans, and also set the stage for similar collective bargaining and budget fights in other states.

The recall effort began in January when Republican Gov. Scott Walker took office and Republicans gained control of the state legislature, putting forward a budget aimed at austerity and limiting the rising costs of public employee benefits by ending collective bargaining for all public workers except police and firefighters.

Democrats in the state legislature left the state to avoid voting on the measure, while thousands of protesters on both sides of the issue flooded the state capital to protest or support Walker's move. After Walker signed the legislation, Democrats began gathering signatures on petitions to recall specific senators who were eligible.

Republicans responded in kind, saying Democrats abandoned their duty. Enough signatures were gathered to target six Republicans and two Democrats.

There are two more recall elections next week. Two Democratic senators are facing recall Aug. 16.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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