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Wisconsin Assembly Poised to Flip to Democratic Control

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The filing deadline for candidacy papers closed last week in Madison and Democrats, who took control of the state Senate in 2006, appear poised to do the same in the Assembly in 2008.

Republicans will face an uphill battle holding onto their current 5-seat majority in the lower legislative chamber (52 to 47). Republicans have controlled the Assembly since the election of 1994, and their advantage grew with every election cycle from 1994 (3 seats), to 1996 (5 seats), to 1998 (11 seats), to 2000 (13 seats), to 2002 (17 seats), to 2004 (21 seats). In 2006, however, that advantage fell to just 5 seats after the Democrats gained 8 seats (Smart Politics projected a 7-seat gain for the minority party).

Assuming, for the moment, that all incumbents facing primary challenges in September will be victorious, Republicans will have 46 incumbents on the ballot, compared to 42 for the Democrats. Republicans, however, will need to defend twice as many seats that were competitive in 2006 (16 districts) than will the Democrats (8 districts). (Competitive races are defined as those decided by 10 points or less in the previous election cycle).

Secondly, Republicans will have to defend one more open seat (6) than the Democrats (5) and three of these open seats are located in competitive districts (#47, 57, and 92). None of the open Democratic seats were competitive districts in 2006.

Thirdly, Democrats will also run more than one-quarter of their incumbents (11) without a challenger from the GOP. Republicans, meanwhile, will only run 3 of their 46 incumbents free from the challenge of a Democratic candidate.

If the Democrats net just 3 seats in November, and maintain their advantage in the state Senate, they will control both the legislative and executive branches of government for the first time in Wisconsin since the 1984 election cycle.

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Remains of the Data

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Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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