We're Watching Wisconsin

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Sep 14, 2010 7:20 AM
The state is trending Democratic, but both the governor and Senate seats could turn red no matter who comes out on top in the primary races tonight. On the governor's side, Democratic Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett is considered a pretty poor candidate against either GOP competitor, Mark Neumann or Scott Walker. Neuman has more of a lead in the polls over Barret than does Walker, but there are a lot of undecideds.

In the Senate, incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold is tied in the polls with Republican challenger Ron Johnson, though David Westlake is giving Johnson a run for his (tons of) money in the primary. If the GOP could take two seats in this state, it would be a bombshell.

In the 7th Congressional district, Democratic Rep. Dave Obey is bouncing out after 30 years in the House. In his place, a former star of a lumberjack competition — also a 1997 cast member on MTV's Real World Boston — is spending $1.2 million to defeat his Republican opponent in the primary, who has only banked $500,000.  We're talking about Sean Duffy running against Dan Mielke. Despite the cash disadvantage, Mielke is running a killer campaign. He also has a killer beard.

In the 8th district, the GOP primary to challenge incumbent Rep. Steve Kagan is just as hot. State Rep. Roger Roth is being challenged by businessman Reid Ribble, with another bid being launched by Terri McCormick. While it's somewhat difficult to predict the outcome of this race, Obama took this district in 2008 and the conservative temperaments seem to be moderated slightly. As a special challenge, try saying this three times fast: Roger Roth Reid Ribble.