Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Wisconsin Republicans Field Candidates in Most Assembly Districts in Quarter Century

Bookmark and Share

Republicans running candidates in 85 of 99 Badger State Assembly districts in 2010; largest number of districts contested by GOP since 1986

Buoyed by two candidates running in toss-up races at the top of the ticket who hope to take back the Governor's mansion (Scott Walker) and a U.S. Senate seat (Tom Johnson), Wisconsin Republicans are poised to gain control of the State Assembly by lining up candidates to compete in more districts than the Party has challenged in a generation.

A Smart Politics analysis of Wisconsin historical election returns finds that Republicans are running candidates in 85 of 99 Assembly districts in 2010, which is the largest number of GOP-challenged districts in the Badger State since 1986.

The strong showing in the number of Republican candidates on the ballot this election cycle may finally begin to reverse a half-century long trend which found the Wisconsin GOP fielding candidates in fewer and fewer Assembly races across the decades.

In the 1950s, Republicans averaged just 3.2 uncontested Assembly districts during the five general election cycles held that decade.

But the GOP saw that number rise to 7.2 districts per cycle without a candidate in the 1960s, to 9.2 districts in the 1970s, to 13.2 districts in the 1980s, to 18.6 districts in the 1990s, and to 23.0 districts in the 2000s.

Overall, Republicans did not run candidates in 372 Assembly districts across the 30 election cycles from 1950 through 2008, or 12.4 seats per cycle, compared to just 307 districts for the Democrats, or 10.2 seats per cycle.

Number of Uncontested Wisconsin Assembly Districts by Party by Decade, 1950s-2000s

Decade
No GOP
No GOP per cycle
No Democrat
No Democrat per cycle
1950s
16
3.2
37
7.4
1960s
36
7.2
15
3.0
1970s
46
9.2
18
3.6
1980s
66
13.2
42
8.4
1990s
93
18.6
104
20.8
2000s
115
23.0
91
18.2
Total
322
12.4
307
10.2
Data compiled by Smart Politics. Source: Blue Book of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Republicans are seeking to reclaim the Assembly after the Democratic Party gained control in 2008 by winning 52 seats, compared to 46 for the GOP and one seat for an independent.

The ability for Republicans to field candidates in all but 14 Assembly districts in 2010 is yet another sign of high enthusiasm for the Party as it heads into the November elections. From 2000 through 20008, Republicans failed to run candidates in at least 20 districts each cycle, including a high of 25 in 2006 and then 24 in 2008.

This cycle the GOP did not field candidates in Assembly Districts #8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17, 18, 61, 64, 65, 76, 78, and 81.

Democrats, meanwhile, are not challenging Republicans in 17 districts this cycle, which is more than double the number of Assembly districts the Party left fallow in 2008 (7).

2010 is the first election cycle since 2002 in which Democrats have contested fewer Assembly districts than Republicans.

Democrats are not running candidates in Assembly Districts #3, 6, 14, 23, 27, 31, 33, 39, 53, 55, 56, 58, 59, 60, 63, 69, and 82.

Only once in the last 60 years have both major parties fielded candidates in each Assembly district across the state - 1970.

Number of Wisconsin Assembly Districts without a Major Party Challenger by Year and Party, 1950-2010

Year
No GOP
No Dem
Total
2010
14
17
31
2008
24
7
31
2006
25
14
39
2004
22
21
43
2002
24
28
52
2000
20
21
41
1998
18
27
45
1996
18
11
29
1994
19
27
46
1992
21
18
39
1990
17
21
38
1988
19
9
28
1986
5
16
21
1984
13
2
15
1982
12
1
13
1980
17
14
31
1978
15
6
21
1976
7
9
16
1974
21
1
22
1972
3
2
5
1970
0
0
0
1968
1
9
10
1966
2
3
5
1964
12
0
12
1962
7
3
10
1960
14
0
14
1958
4
3
7
1956
5
10
15
1954
4
3
7
1952
2
15
17
1950
1
6
7
Data compiled by Smart Politics. Source: Blue Book of Wisconsin. 2010 candidate data compiled from Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Tom Emmer: Running for Governor, Not Sheriff
Next post: Run, Murkowski, Run? A Historical Review of Alaskan Statewide Write-in Campaigns

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting