Wisconsin and Connecticut Primaries
Tonight, we get the answer to two important questions regarding the future of the United States Senate. Both Wisconsin and Connecticut have their Republican primary elections for their Senate candidates.
Let’s look at the two states, today’s elections, and the implications of the potential outcomes.
Both Democrats and Republicans heading to the polls in Connecticut, but the outcome isn’t really in doubt. For Team Blue, Representative Chris Murphy (D-Cheshire) has consistently polled comfortably ahead of former state Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz. And on Team Red, World Wrestling Entertainment founder Linda McMahon, who in 2010 lost her bid for the United States Senate to Richard Blumenthal, has consistently polled even more comfortably ahead of Chris Shays, who used to represent the Fourth Congressional District until he lost the seat to Jim Himes.
Assuming the outcome matches expectations, Murphy seems likely to win the seat, which is being vacated by independent Senator Joe Lieberman. Murphy has polled ahead of McMahon in every poll conducted to date, though at times by a low single-digit margin. Connecticut is still a “Leans Democratic” state, but with enough room for change between now and November.
This is a more interesting race, at least on the Republican side. For Democrats, the choice is simple: Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison) is the only candidate on the ballot. But for Republicans, there has been a brutal battle among the early favorite, former Governor Tommy Thompson; the recent star, banking executive Eric Hovde; and the underdog, former Representative Mark Neumann (R-Janesville).
As I discussed in “The Ideology Gamble”, the trend is toward more hard-line conservative candidates in the general elections, even at the risk of giving more seats to Democrats. This is another such instance. Thompson is the mainstream Republican candidate, while Hovde is the hard-line Tea Party favorite. Meanwhile, Neumann splits the difference, with a DW-NOMINATE around the current Republican average of +0.7.
All three candidates poll within the margin of error from each other. This is truly anybody’s race.
As has been the history with the ideology gamble, the moderate Thompson polls best against Baldwin, to the point where it’s essentially a tossup between the two, based on historical polls. The other two tend to poll a couple of points worse against Baldwin than does Thompson.
Should Thompson win, Wisconsin’s senate race is a tossup. Should he lose, it’s a “Leans Democratic” state, though just barely.
This, too, will be a state to watch closely over the next three months.
- Favored In GOP Senate Primary, Linda McMahon Faces Critics Left And Right (npr.org)
- McMahon, Murphy Lead in Connecticut (politicalwire.com)
- Jonathan Bernstein: Key Senate nominations tomorrow highlight GOP strategy (washingtonpost.com)
- Connecticut’s Congressional Primary (nytimes.com)
- Northeast GOP’s Hopeless Choices (commentarymagazine.com)
- Back to the Future (wnyc.org)
- The Last Yankee Republican (thedailybeast.com)
- McMahon 2.0: Ready to rumble? (politico.com)