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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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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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