- Executive order: Obama ups green-energy mandate on feds to 20 percent
- GOP launches candidate training: How to talk to women
- N.Y.’s Rockefeller Center lights up, as Bloomberg flicks on 76-foot Christmas tree
- Northern Ireland turns to ‘Game of Thrones’ to draw in tourists
- Washington woman live-tweets husband’s horrific car death
- China City of America mulled for New York — with $65M tax dollars
- Yemen defense ministry rocked by suicide bomber, gunfire
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Mystery deepens over radioactive cobalt-60 stolen in Mexico
- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
Wisconsin contest crucial to Obama, Senate majority
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Four years ago, Wisconsin Democrats controlled the governorship and both U.S. Senate seats and turned out in overwhelming numbers to help elect President Obama.
Today, the Badger State has a tea-party senator and a Republican governor who withstood a union-led recall effort this year, and it realistically could elect another GOP senator this fall and go red in a presidential election for the first time since 1984.
State Democrats gathered here hope Mr. Obama can hold on to win the state, and they are putting their Senate hopes in the hands of Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a seven-term congresswoman who trails in polls to GOP candidate and former Gov. Tommy Thompson.
Members insist they aren't panicking, but they acknowledge there is a lot at stake.
"We have long been a pretty evenly divided state," Ms. Baldwin said Thursday, hours before she was scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention. "It rarely swings [too far] in one direction or another, and I think that's what we'll see this November."
Republicans have thrived in recent years in the state because of lingering dissatisfaction over the country's rate of recovery under Mr. Obama.
In 2010, tea-party candidate and political newcomer Ron Johnson toppled incumbent Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold to become just the state's second Republican senator in nearly 50 years.
That same year, voters elected Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who would go on to clash bitterly with Democrats over state employees' collective bargaining rights, leading to a recall election that he won earlier this year.
Mr. Walker is one of several Wisconsin Republicans to have carved out a growing reputation on the national scene, along with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Rep. Paul Ryan, whose selection as running mate to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has helped push Wisconsin from a solid Obama lean to a near-tossup.
"You've got to think that we're favored," Mr. Priebus told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Monday. "Just with the momentum we've brought into Wisconsin [and] the fact that Paul's on the ticket. I think we've proven we're pretty good at figuring out how to win there."
Polls consistently have shown Mr. Thompson as the favorite in the Senate race, as polls last month showed him with anywhere from a 5- to 11-point lead. If he wins, it will mark the first time since 1957 that the state will have two Republican senators.
While Republicans say Wisconsin voters have seen the light, Democrats argue that the run of GOP success is just a passing fad that is starting to wane because of what they consider a lack of accomplishments or compromise from national Republicans.
"You don't ever really win by thinking you can obliterate the other side," said Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl, a Democrat who will retire rather than seek re-election this fall. "I think we'll get back to where we need to get, but it's a question of how the cycle goes. Maybe it'll take a year or three or five."
The race will play a key role in determining whether Democrats maintain their majority in the Senate, and its result could be tied directly to the outcome of the presidential race, as is often the case in Senate and presidential elections.
Mr. Obama, who won Wisconsin by 16 percentage points in 2008, has a narrow lead of 2 or 3 points, according to recent polls. Democrats say the race will come down to turnout and that they must energize Obama voters if the president and Ms. Baldwin are to end up victorious.
"The midterms really were about who came to the polls and who stayed home," Ms. Baldwin said. "Perhaps you could argue that every election is about that, but I think people are going to be very involved this fall."
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Md. drivers could face eventual doubling of gas tax
- Federal appeals court restores Maryland's concealed carry law
- Md. bill would end student suspensions for mimicking gun behavior
- Maryland Senate passes bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana
- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell assailed on transportation
Latest Blog Entries
- CURL: 'Mission Accomplished' for Obamacare
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Washington woman live-tweets husbands horrific car death
- Pentagon may give recruits 'a shot to start over' after shameful social media posts
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- Young millennials shun Obamacare, creating risky imbalance
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- HARPER: 'Knockout game' not a myth to liberal Sharpton
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Playing Through covers the world of PGA golf, as well as tips your the average golfer to play better.