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).
Barack Obama has delivered an address before a joint session of Congress eight times since taking office five years ago. During his first three speeches (February 2009's inaugural address to Congress, September 2009's address on health care reform, and the 2010 State of the Union), the president's tie color of choice was red. After the GOP tsunami in November 2010, Obama has opted for a blue tie in four of his five speeches held in the Republican-controlled lower legislative chamber (for the 2011, 2013, and 2014 SOTUs and his September 2011 address on job growth). The president reverted back to his red tie only once, for the 2012 SOTU.
Tom Latham's surprise announcement last month that he would retire from the U.S. House at this end of this term was also an unusual exit in modern Hawkeye State history. Over the last 50+ years since the 1962 cycle, only six of 32 Iowa U.S. Representatives - including Latham - left the chamber via retirement, or 18 percent: Democrats Merwin Coad in 1962 and Berkley Bedell in 1986 and Republicans Charles Hoeven in 1964, Harold Gross in 1974, Cooper Evans in 1986, and Latham in 2014. Seventeen others were defeated in reelection bids, while nine ran for higher office. Five of these were defeated (Republicans Tom Tauke in 1990, Fred Grandy in 1994, Jim Lightfoot in 1996, Greg Ganske in 2002, Jim Nussle in 2006), three were victorious (John Culver in 1974, Chuck Grassley in 1980, Tom Harkin in 1984), with one yet to be determined (1st CD Democrat Bruce Braley, running for U.S. Senate this cycle).
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