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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

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

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Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


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).


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