RACINE — “It’s over,” State Sen. John Lehman said at the conclusion of his swearing-in ceremony on Monday.
Lehman was not referring to the ceremony itself, but rather his long road to reclaiming the 21st Senate District.
Lehman defeated Republican Van Wanggaard in a special recall election on June 5, recovering the seat Wanggaard won from him in 2010.
Wanggaard initiated a recount, which again determined Lehman was the winner, this time by 819 votes instead of 834.
On Monday, Lehman thanked all of those gathered at the Racine County Courthouse, 730 Wisconsin Ave. — about 100 family members, friends, supporters and prominent state politicians, including Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, and the new Senate Majority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona.
Racine County Circuit Court Judge Gerald Ptacek spoke about how Lehman’s “experience and personality” would serve him well in the Senate.
“We expect heated debate, lively discourse,” Ptacek said, adding that any kind of dialogue must be accompanied by dignity and respect, both of which he said Lehman brings to his work.
Lehman is always thinking of the people, according to Ptacek. The judge pointed to the fact that the swearing-in ceremony was held in Racine rather than Madison as one indication of Lehman’s dedication to the district. In Racine, constituents and supporters could attend more easily, Ptacek said.
Lehman came to the ceremony with a stack of Bibles, which his wife Cathie Lehman held as her husband took the oath.
Both Ptacek and John Lehman joked about literally swearing on a stack of Bibles, but Lehman had sentimental reasons for the display.
“I wanted to have my grandchildren remember this day, so we got six Bibles and inscribed them,” he told the crowd.
John Lehman invited all in attendance to join him for lunch at Infusino’s Banquet Hall, 3201 Rapids Drive, after the ceremony.
With Lehman in office, the Democrats have a one-seat majority in the Wisconsin state Senate.
The Senate will meet Tuesday for the transfer of power, but after that time, the body is not slated to meet until January — after the November elections.
As to whether or not the Democrats will be able to hold the majority after the November elections: “You know, nobody knows. That’s why they have elections,” John Lehman said.