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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

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

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).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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