Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Wisconsin Senate Race Is Now Set

Republicans were struggling to get a candidate to oppose Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Their first choice was Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), but not only is he not going to run for the Senate, he is leaving the House abruptly. None of the other Republicans in the Wisconsin delegation were interested. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who is super Trumpy, made noises about a bid, but in the end didn't pull the trigger. Now what?

Eventually, Wisconsin Republicans settled on wealthy venture capitalist Eric Hovde. Running a rich guy guarantees two things. First, he can self-fund the campaign, saving the NRSC money. Second, he can always be counted on to support bills to cut taxes on rich people, no matter how unpopular the bills are.

One of Hovde's issues is the border. Wisconsin doesn't actually have a land border with any foreign countries, although it does border on Lake Superior, which does border on another country. But Hovde is all worked up over the Mexican border. Whether that is a big issue for Wisconsinites remains to be seen.

Hovde was born in Madison, WI, and raised nearby. He studied at the University of Wisconsin but headed to D.C. after graduating, coming back only in 2011 to run for the Senate. During the campaign, he said he was tired of seeing news about how people were impoverished and suffering due to the recession. He said he would prefer to see more news stories about the national debt. He has also complained that welfare leads to out-of-wedlock births among Black women. He lost the primary to Tommy Thompson, who went on to lose the general election to Baldwin.

Thereafter, Hovde went to live in California, where he lives in a $7 million mansion. He also owns several banks there. Baldwin is going to hit him as an out-of-touch, out-of-state, bank-owning carpetbagger who doesn't understand what life is like for ordinary people in Wisconsin. This is a general problem for the Republicans. They like wealthy businessmen since they can self-fund their campaigns, but then they get attacked as wealthy businessmen who don't understand the problems ordinary people have. It is hard to have it both ways. Hovde has a problem common to many of these candidates. One recent poll showed that 84% of Wisconsin residents knew little to nothing about him. This will give Baldwin the opportunity to define him herself. A recent Emerson College poll has Baldwin ahead of Hovde 45-42.

Wisconsin is the ultimate swing state. You don't have to look any further than the two current senators to see that. Baldwin is a progressive and the first lesbian elected to the Senate. The other one, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), is a conservative former business owner.

Here is the list of what we consider the 10 most competitive Senate races.

State Democrat Republican Notes
Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego Kari Lake Gallego is progressive and Lake is a Trumper
Florida Debbie Mucarsel-Powell Sen. Rick Scott Scott is very unpopular but Florida is a red state now
Maryland Rep. David Trone or Angela Alsobrooks Larry Hogan Hogan is popular but Maryland is very blue
Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin ? The GOP primary is August 6
Montana Sen. Jon Tester Tim Sheehy Tester is well known and Sheehy is from Minnesota
Nevada Sen. Jacky Rosen ? The GOP primary is June 11
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown Bernie Moreno Brown is progressive and Moreno is a wealthy Trumper
Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey David McCormick McCormick lives in Connecticut
Texas Colin Allred Sen. Ted Cruz Cruz is the least popular senator but Texas is still red
Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin Eric Hovde Hovde is a wealthy California businessman & bank owner

In Maryland, Democrats have to decide between Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who is Black, and wealthy Rep. David Trone (D-MD), who is white. Neither of them is nearly as well known as former Maryland governor Larry Hogan. If Trone wins the primary, he can drown Hogan in ads. If Alsobrooks wins, she will have the progressive vote locked up.

Republicans have primaries in Michigan and Nevada. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) is not waiting to win her primary, which will be easy. She is out raising boatloads of money. The Republican primary will be nasty. The Republican primary in Nevada will also be nasty, with a dozen candidates, none of them well known. The state party favors Sam Brown, an Army veteran, wealthy businessman, and failed 2022 Senate candidate. (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates