Sharp divisions remain
Wirch says he has no regrets. The union bill, he says, "was the most shameful piece of legislation I have seen in the state of Wisconsin." He was elected to the Senate in 1996 and got twice as many votes as his opponent in 2008.
"People stop me in the grocery store and say, 'Thank you for fighting the good fight,' " Wirch, 67, says. "My gut instinct tells me the vast majority of people are in favor of worker rights and collective bargaining. There's a fundamental sense of fairness in this state and Republicans violated it."
Wirch takes the recall effort seriously. "I don't think there's any middle ground," he says. "People either love me or hate me."