Although freshman Republican U.S. Representatives Sean Duffy (WI-07) and Reid Ribble (WI-08) are considered vulnerable by many D.C. prognosticators this November, redistricting has not spelled trouble for congressional incumbents in the Badger State over the last six decades. Since 1952, only one of 52 incumbents went down in the general election in years ending in '2' after redistricting - and in that case only because two incumbents were paired together in the same district. In 1972, 15-term Republican Alvin O'Konski lost the state's 7th CD race to two term Democrat David Obey by 25.6 points. O'Konski had previously served in the 10th CD which was eliminated after reapportionment. Meanwhile, Wisconsin congressional incumbents lost 16 of 208 races in cycles ending in '4,' '6,' '8,' and '0' during this span (7.7 percent) or nearly four times the rate as during redistricting years (1.9 percent).
Big-name Republicans are not coming out of the woodwork yet to challenge Al Franken in Minnesota's 2014 U.S. Senate race, and there is not much chatter of the GOP picking off one of the five DFL-held U.S. House seats either. Over the last century, Minnesota Republican U.S. House candidates have not fared all that well in cycles ending in '4' - losing seats in four of these cycles (1914, 1924, 1944, 1974), holding serve in four others (1964, 1984, 1994, 2004), and gaining seats just one time (1934, after redistricting had been delayed one cycle with all nine seats voted at-large in 1932). Perhaps the Republican Party's best chance for a pick up in the Gopher State in 2014 is if 12-term Democrat Collin Peterson retires after nearly a quarter century on Capitol Hill. The 7th CD has the second largest GOP lean in the state.
Of the 15 men and women that have served in the U.S. Senate from Wisconsin since popular vote elections were introduced a century ago, Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin rank among the oldest upon first entering the chamber. Johnson began his tenure at the age of 55 years, 8 months, and 26 days in January 2011, which is the oldest of any elected Wisconsin Senator during this popular vote era. The next oldest, Alexander Wiley, was more than one year younger when he took his seat in 1939 (54 years, 7 months, 8 days). Tammy Baldwin comes in at #6 being 50 years, 10 months, and 23 days when she took office in January of this year. The youngest elected Senator from the Badger State was Robert La Follette, Jr. at 30 years, 7 months, and 24 days (1925) when he took the seat of his legendary deceased father.
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