February 22, 2017
[Madison, WI]—Following a historic victory for Republicans in 2016, Democrats in Wisconsin are on their heels and vulnerable to losing even more seats in the 2018 election. Senator Tammy Baldwin faces daunting reelection prospects after years of Republican victories in Wisconsin have turned the state red. Additionally, the National Republican Congressional Committee has targeted U.S. Rep. Ron Kind as a pickup opportunity headed in to 2018.
Check out what they’re saying about Wisconsin Democrats on their heels:
Republicans see U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Madison Democrat, as vulnerable, especially after Donald Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to win Wisconsin since 1984.
Baldwin’s 2012 win over Tommy Thompson, the former four-time elected governor, was one of the few bright spots for Democrats since 2010. Scott Jensen, a former Republican Assembly speaker and lobbyist for the pro-voucher American Federation for Children, said Baldwin successfully ran then as a populist appealing to middle-of-the-road voters, but will have a more difficult time running with a more liberal voting record.
“Last time I was warning Republicans that Tammy Baldwin was stronger than they think; now she’s weaker than she knows,” Jensen said. “The ground is shifting underneath her.”
The Wisconsin GOP still makes a good case to make that Baldwin, a staunch liberal, is plenty vulnerable. Trump won the state in 2016 after it became redder and redder throughout the Obama years. “There are strong potential candidates ready to draw a sharp contrast with Senator Baldwin, who is out of touch with Wisconsin values and in big trouble as a result,” Wisconsin GOP spokesman Alec Zimmerman said.
Democrat Ron Kind (Third District): This is one of just a dozen Democratic House seats in the country carried by Trump last fall. It had been regularly voting Democratic for president. But it saw a huge shift toward the GOP in 2016, part of the massive rural swing that delivered Wisconsin for Trump. Kind was unopposed for Congress by Wisconsin Republicans, who had no real way of knowing what a golden opportunity this blue seat would have been for them in 2016.
Now it looks like Kind will be highly targeted by the GOP in 2018. The fact that his southwestern Wisconsin district voted for Trump may pressure Kind to look for some common ground across party lines with the president. But Trump’s edge in the district was narrow (just 4 points), and Kind will be pushed by his own party’s voters to oppose the president.
One-third of the districts, detailed in a NRCC spreadsheet, are seats that President Donald Trump carried over Hillary Clinton even while a Democratic House member also claimed victory. That segment of the list is heavy on blue-collar districts in the Midwest, which Republicans believe will be especially fertile political territory in the Trump era. It includes two Democrats who were not heavily targeted by the GOP in 2016: Reps. Dave Loebsack, a veteran incumbent from southeastern Iowa, and Ron Kind, who is from west central Wisconsin and ran unopposed in 2016 while Trump carried his seat by more than 4 percentage points.