The House of Cheese races
I previously gave my national House of Representatives prediction; let me give the predictions for the House races in Wisconsin.
Nate Silver’s latest blog post again talks about how difficult it is to predict the size of the coming Republican wave. However, I think we can, with some certainty, predict the likely outcomes of Wisconsin’s House seats.
In the 1st Congressional District, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan faces John Heckenlively. Heckenlively barely made it onto the ballot. I hope he enjoys seeing his name in print, because that will be the most excitement he gets on election day. Heckenlively will be lucky to get the Democrat base vote in the district. Jeff Thomas got 31% of the vote in 2002. That’s a good vote goal for Heckenlively.
Unfortunately the same can be said in the 2nd Congressional District where Chad Lee is facing incumbent Democrat Tammy Baldwin. Dane County did have Republican representation once when Scott Klug was elected. Republican candidate Peter Theron could have had the best campaign stunt ever in the history of Wisconsin if the City of Madison had allowed him to repeatedly stop traffic. After that, Chad Lee is a good candidate sent on a suicide mission.
State Senator Dan Kapanke’s probable loss to incumbent Democrat Congressman Ron Kind is the biggest disappointment for Republicans in Wisconsin this year. Kapanke got caught up in a fight over open records, and then irregularities regarding a Northwoods baseball team (what is it about that league?) just dragged on his campaign. We’ll see if the ethical allegations against Kind will be held against him tomorrow. If there is a “super wave” then Kapanke can win. Otherwise, my suggestion to election attorney Mike Maistelman is to start pricing out hotel rooms in the Eau Claire area to prepare for a possible recount. Unfortunately, I’m predicting Kind hangs on to win, and the ethics questions to become the subject of investigation by the next congress.
In the fourth congressional district, Republican Dan Sebring has the unenviable task of trying to bump off incumbent Democrat Gwen Moore. It’s going to take someone like Sheriff David Clarke to do that, and he’s a Democrat. Well, he is. Really. (By the way, Clarke will easily win re-election, too.)
From one safe seat to another. If Congressman David Obey was an institution, Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner is our universal constant. Sensenbrenner should easily win re-election this year. Even if Todd Kolosso wins the lottery, Sensenbrenner has won it twice.
In the sixth congressional district, it’s easy to forget who’s there unless you love bike paths. Why incumbent Republican Tom Petri doesn’t draw a decent Republican challenger in the primary is beyond my understanding. His Democratic opponent would have to find something Petri did in order to have an issue to use in a campaign. Petri works very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Get used to saying, “Congressman Sean Duffy.” Not only is Duffy going to beat State Senator Julie Lassa, but Duffy is going to be a star. Oh wait, he already is. I mean beyond the MTV watchers and the lumberjack circuit. This race will end up 53% to 47% and Lassa will go back to a shrunken Democratic State Senate caucus to tell her colleagues it’s rough out there. They’ll respond, “Tell us about it.”
That leaves race number eight, Democratic Congressman Steve Kagen (D-Delusional) against Republican Reid Ribble. Even the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee knew this was a bad case, and they amputated Dr. Kagen’s campaign early. Somebody please remind Dr. Kagen that the polls do not operate on “Injun Time,” whatever that means. If he wants to vote, he’s going to have to show up on time without some story about how he got stuck in a bathroom with Karl Rove. The margin should be wider but Republicans fought a strange primary campaign, complete with a suicide and Terri McCormick. Still, Ribble wins 55% to 45%, and sanity will finally come to the Green Bay area.