Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived a furious recall campaign on Tuesday, emerging as the victor in a bitter fight over state budgets and collective bargaining rights.
NBC News declared Walker the projected winner over Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in a closely-watched campaign first prompted after Walker drove a bill stripping public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights through Wisconsin's legislature showed little signs of abating, according to exit polls.
The Walker-Barrett race has been watched closely by party leaders in Washington for signs of its implications for the general election this fall. Unions and business groups have also invested heavily in the race, helping fuel a price tag that will total in the tens of millions.
While the fight over budgets and union rights in Wisconsin reached a political climax on Tuesday, the ultimate outcome was unlikely to do little to heal the deep political rift that has plagued the state since the initial legislative fight in early 2011.