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Wis. Recall Vote Doesn't Dampen Protesters' Resolve


With Tuesday's recall election now over in Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker resumed a normal schedule yesterday. His unsuccessful challenger, Democrat Tom Barrett, was back at Milwaukee City Hall, where he serves as mayor, and TV programs were finally free of political ads.

But one fixture of the recall battle remained in place, outside the Capitol building in Madison. NPR's Don Gonyea reports.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: They have gathered every weekday at noon, to sing classic protest and union songs, often with updated lyrics.

CHRIS REEDER: Walker was the governor.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Singing) Walker was the governor...

GONYEA: Chris Reeder has been leading this protest and sing-along. Yesterday, they were all dealing with the disappointment of a lost election, but the songs went on.

REEDER: Ladies and gentlemen, grab a songbook and circle up. It is time to get started.

GONYEA: Yesterday was sing-along number 386. Sometimes, they're inside the Capitol. On nice days, it's outside.

REEDER: Sixteen months ago - how long? Sixty-five weeks ago, we said we were going to be here singing, the day after the election. And we are still here!


REEDER: Last night might not have gone exactly like all of us would have hoped.


GONYEA: Gov. Walker's victory stung. The daily sing-along has attracted plenty of attention - some of it, supportive; some of it, not. Some who stopped to watch are just curious. Yesterday, 32-year-old Laurie Kolesik, an accountant, wondered why the protesters were still there.

LAURIE KOLESIK: It's time -get over it, move on. You lost twice - I mean, what more is there to say?

GONYEA: Fifty-two-year-old Greg Gordon is a computer programmer, and a regular at these events. He says there's plenty left to say.

GREG GORDON: This has really kept people focused, but it's also been such a positive way to release some of the stress of everything that's been going on. It's formed a group that is going to stay connected after all this - musically and politically.

REEDER: Song number 2, "This Land is Your Land," starting with the chorus. Here we go.


GONYEA: Don Gonyea, NPR News, Madison. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.
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