Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Tammy Baldwin Is Running for a Third Term

Wisconsin is a key swing state and while Democrats currently seem to have the upper hand, they cannot count on automatically winning elections there. In 2022, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) was reelected to a third term despite promising to retire after two terms. An open seat would be a disaster for the Democrats in 2024. Fortunately, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) announced yesterday that she is going to run for a third term. Unlike Johnson, she never promised the voters that she would stop at two.

Despite Wisconsin's status as a swing state, Baldwin won her first two Senate races by decent margins, as follows:

Year Democrat Dem Pct. Republican GOP Pct
2012 Tammy Baldwin 51.4% Tommy Thompson 45.9%
2018 Tammy Baldwin 55.4% Leah Vukmir 45.6%

In her announcement, Baldwin cited her efforts to bring manufacturing jobs back to America and her support for abortion. Given the results in the Wisconsin Supreme Court Election two weeks ago, we expect that she will hammer on abortion over and over for the next year and a half as it is clear that abortion is a Big Deal for Wisconsin voters.

Republicans will throw everything they have got at Baldwin, but the problem is that they don't have a lot. The only Republican holding statewide office is Treasurer John Leiber, who assumed office on Jan. 2, 2023. Announcing a Senate run so soon after being inaugurated as treasurer would look tacky so we doubt he will run.

The Wisconsin House map is hugely gerrymandered, with six Republicans and two Democrats in a very evenly divided state. Here are the Wisconsin House members:

District PVI Incumbent
WI-01 R+3 Bryan Steil (R)
WI-02 D+19 Mark Pocan (D)
WI-03 R+4 Derrick VanOrden (R)
WI-04 D+25 Gwen Moore (D)
WI-05 R+14 Scott Fitzgerald (R)
WI-06 R+10 Glenn Grothman (R)
WI-07 R+12 Tom Tiffany (R)
WI-08 R+10 Mike Gallagher (R)

There are a couple of things to notice here. First, note how the Republican lawmakers stuffed all the Democrats into two districts, WI-02 (Madison) and WI-04 (Milwaukee). Second, note that only one of the Republicans has won a race in a competitive district. That is Derrick VanOrden in WI-03 (Kenosha and Racine). The others don't have any experience running competitive races.

The only one of the six Republicans who has expressed interest in the Senate seat is Mike Gallagher in WI-08 (Green Bay; Go Packers), a Marine Corps veteran who fought in the Iraq War. He has a Ph.D. from Georgetown University in government and international relations and is the chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party. Note that this is different from being the chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, but it gives oppo researchers something to work with. He is probably the strongest of the Republican representatives, but he recently said that he is not thinking about a run at present. Gallagher is moderately Trumpy, but broke with Trump on a few things so Trump could support someone else if he jumps in. Also, there is always the chance that some wealthy, self-funding businessman enters the race. In summary, the Republicans don't really have an obvious, experienced, battle-hardened candidate to run against Baldwin, at least not yet. (V)

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