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Election Profile: Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District

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Smart Politics is running a series of election profiles of Upper Midwestern congressional races leading up to the November 2nd elections. The series will culminate with Smart Politics' official projections. The eighth profile in the series is Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District.

Candidates:
Democrat: Tammy Baldwin (6-term incumbent)
Republican: Chad Lee

District Geography:
Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District comprises the south central part of the state, including Dane and Green counties, along with portions of Columbia, Jefferson, Rock, and Sauk counties.

History:
Tammy Baldwin won her first congressional race in 1998, by defeating Republican Josephine W. Musser by 5.8 points, filling the open seat left by 4-term GOP congressman Scott L. Klug. Baldwin eked out a 2.8-point win in the closest U.S. House race in the Badger State in 2000.

After redistricting, Baldwin has won by very comfortable margins: by 32.2 points over Ron Greer in 2002, by 26.5 points and 25.7 points over Dave Magnum in 2004 and 2006 respectively, and by 38.8 points in 2008 over Peter Theron.

Despite these gaudy victory margins, the district's 30.8 average margin of victory actually ranks in the Top 40 percent most competitive U.S. House seats this decade.

Baldwin serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Judiciary Committee.

In 2010, Baldwin will square off against Republican businessman Chad Lee from Mt. Horeb.

Outlook:
Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District has the second largest Democratic tilt in the state, with a +15 Democratic Partisan Voting Index. Overall, Baldwin's district is the 71st most Democratic in the nation. Barack Obama carried it by 39 points in 2008 while John Kerry won it by 25 points in 2004.

Aided by the capitol city of Madison being encompassed by the district, Baldwin is set to join her Republican congressional classmate Paul Ryan for a 7th term in Washington, no matter how strong the GOP wave in 2010.

Previous post: Election Profile: Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District
Next post: Election Profile: Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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