Saturday, January 21, 2006

Will the Dems Win Back the State Senate in '06?

This is from a very interesting analysis in the current issue of Milwaukee’s Shepherd-Express. Below I have listed some of the races that could be competitive according to Louis Fortis. I have also included some of his comments for each one:

RACINE (Currently by Cathy Stepp)
"One of the Assembly districts in Stepp’s district is strongly Republican and one is strongly Democratic. But a third is a swing district, and it’s represented by Democrat John Lehman, who is running for Stepp’s Senate seat. Lehman is well regarded and has an excellent shot to become Racine’s next state senator."

"Four years ago moderate Republican Peggy Rosenzweig held this seat, but Reynolds beat her in the Republican primary when many moderate Republicans voted in the Democratic primary to support Tom Barrett, who had represented parts of the district in both the state Senate and Congress. This put the Republican primary in the hands of the right-wing cultural conservative faction, Tom Reynolds’ base. Since getting elected, Reynolds has been in the news often for such things as asking potential staff in hiring interviews whether they are born-again Christians, divorced or plan to remain virgins until they marry."

"Democratic Sen. James Baumgart lost to then Republican Assemblyman Joe Leibham by just 47 votes after being outspent 4 to 1. Leibham is far more conservative than his district, and his consistent votes to cut SeniorCare and his anti-worker votes in one of the state’s most labor-heavy districts will work against him. Leibham also comes off as just a little too “slick” for his district."

"In Eau Claire’s other Senate district, Republican Ron Brown defeated 20-year incumbent Rod Moen in 2002 by just 400 votes. This Senate district is a 52% Democratic district and John Kerry won it by 7,000 votes just two years ago. Brown, a retired fire chief turned politician, appears not to enjoy the give-and-take of state capitol politics and some Republicans wonder if he has the drive and desire to mount a serious campaign this year. The Democrats have two strong candidates who are testing the waters, a police officer and a female farmer, so it will be an interesting campaign season in Eau Claire."

Fortis also lists two other seats that the Democrats might be able to take back (Dave Zien’s and Dale Schultz’). Follow the link above for that analysis and to read the entire piece.

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