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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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