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Smart Politics Projections: Wisconsin U.S. House

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Republicans eye first two-seat U.S. House pick up in Badger State since 1966 GOP wave

Current delegation partisan split
Democrats: 5
Republicans: 3

Incumbents
Democratic incumbents: 4
Open Democratic seats: 1 (WI-07)
Republican incumbents: 3
Open Republican seats: 0

Analysis
Republican momentum at the top of the ticket in the Badger State will tighten all five of Wisconsin's U.S. House districts currently held by the Democratic Party, although only three of which will be 'in play.'

Democrat Steve Kagen (WI-08) is in the most danger, as the two-term incumbent faced extremely competitive races in this GOP-leaning district during the Democratic waves of 2006 and 2008.

If Kagen's challenger Reid Ribble prevails, and Republican Sean Duffy wins David Obey's open seat (WI-07), Republicans will have their first net two-seat gain in Wisconsin since 1966, when Democrats Henry Schadeberg and John Race were defeated during that year's GOP landslide (and when the Wisconsin delegation was comprised of 10 members).

However, because it is unlikely the GOP will be commanding majorities of a Tommy Thompson-like percentage at the top of the ticket, seven-term incumbent Ron Kind (WI-03) should be in the clear.

Projections
WI-01. Paul Ryan (GOP hold)
WI-02. Tammy Baldwin (Democratic hold)
WI-03. Ron Kind (Democratic hold)
WI-04. Gwen Moore (Democratic hold)
WI-05. Jim Sensenbrenner (GOP hold)
WI-06. Tom Petri (GOP hold)
WI-07. Sean Duffy (GOP pick-up)
WI-08. Reid Ribble (GOP pick-up)

Partisan shift: GOP +2

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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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