United States House of Representatives elections in Wisconsin, 2010

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The 2010 congressional elections in Wisconsin were held on November 2, 2010 to determine who will represent the state of Wisconsin in the United States House of Representatives. It coincided with the state's senatorial and gubernatorial elections. Representatives were elected for two-year terms; those elected will serve in the 112th Congress from January 2011 until January 2013.

Wisconsin has eight seats in the House, apportioned according to the 2000 United States Census. The seats are currently held by five Democrats and three Republicans in the 111th Congress.

Overview[edit]

United States House of Representatives elections in Wisconsin, 2010[1]
Party Votes Percentage Seats +/–
Republican 1,165,761 54.46% 5 +2
Democratic 938,690 43.85% 3 -2
Libertarian 4,311 0.20% 0 -
Independents 31,720 1.48% 0 -
Totals 2,140,482 100.00% 8

District 1[edit]

WI 1st Congressional District.png

Incumbent Republican Congressman Paul Ryan ran for a seventh term in this marginally conservative[2] district based in southeastern Wisconsin. Congressman Ryan faced a nominal challenge from Democratic businessman John Heckenlively and Libertarian Joseph Kexel.

The Wisconsin State Journal sharply criticized Congressman Ryan, labeling him "a singularly ineffective representative" and lambasted his plans to privatize Social Security and Medicare, noting, "even the most anti-government extremists recognize that gambling America’s retirement security on the stock market is madness." The State Journal called for voters to vote for challenger Heckenlively, with the rationale that he "will fight for the interests of southeastern Wisconsin working families the incumbent has so neglected.[3]

Given Ryan's district's mix of urban and rural, his winning percentages (always greater than 60% except for his first election) with a margin of greater than 68% in the 2010 election are remarkable.

Wisconsin's 1st congressional district election, 2010[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul Ryan (inc.) 179,819 68.21%
Democratic John Heckenlively 79,363 30.10%
Libertarian Joseph Kexel 4,311 1.64%
Write-ins 134 0.05%
Totals 263,627 100.00%
Republican hold

District 2[edit]

WI 2nd Congressional District.png

Incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, one of the few openly gay members of Congress, ran for a seventh term from this solidly liberal[2] district based around the city of Madison, and she faced Republican candidate Chad Lee in the general election.

The Capital Times gave Congresswoman Baldwin glowing praise, observing that she "has eschewed the celebrity circuit and focused on heavy lifting in Washington and tending to the needs of her constituents in south-central Wisconsin’s 2nd district," calling the results of her work "impressive." Ultimately, the Capital Times concluded, "Baldwin’s service merits an enthusiastic endorsement, and she has it from us."[3]

Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district election, 2010[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Tammy Baldwin (inc.) 191,164 61.77%
Republican Chad Lee 118,099 38.16%
Write-ins 197 0.06%
Totals 309,460 100.00%
Democratic hold

District 3[edit]

WI 3rd Congressional District.png

Democratic Congressman Ron Kind faced Republican State Senator Dan Kapanke in his bid for an eighth term from this liberal-leaning[2] congressional district based that includes much of western Wisconsin. The campaign between Kapanke and Kind was brutal, with Kapanke and the National Republican Congressional Committee accusing Kind of charging two doctors in exchange for meeting with them to discuss a bill, a claim that Kind countered with allegations that Kapanke used $32,000 from a charity to improve a baseball stadium.[4] In their debate, Kapanke attacked Kind for having supported much of President Obama’s agenda.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel endorsed Congressman Kind for re-election, noting, "Kind is a partisan with principles instead of someone who is principally, to the virtual exclusion of reasoned compromise, partisan."[5] The Wisconsin State Journal criticized both Kind and Kapanke, noting that while they were "unimpressed with...Ron Kind" and that Kapanke was "scandal-plagued," Kind "is preferable to his...challenger."[3]

Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district election, 2010[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ron Kind (inc.) 126,380 50.28%
Republican Dan Kapanke 116,838 46.49%
Independent Michael Krsiean 8,001 3.18%
Write-ins 121 0.05%
Totals 251,340 100.00%
Democratic hold

District 4[edit]

WI 4th Congressional District.png

Congresswoman Gwen Moore ran for a fourth term from this staunchly liberal[2] district based largely in the city of Milwaukee. This district tends to give Democrats solid margins of victory, so Moore did not face a realistic challenge from Republican candidate Dan Sebring or independent candidate Eddie Ayyash.

The Wisconsin State Journal strongly endorsed Congresswoman Moore in her bid for re-election, calling her "a gem with a terrific voting record and an accessible style that will earn her easy re-election."[3]

Wisconsin's 4th congressional district election, 2010[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Gwen Moore (inc.) 143,559 68.98%
Republican Dan Sebring 61,543 29.57%
Independent Eddie Ahmad Ayyash 2,802 1.35%
Write-ins 199 0.10%
Totals 208,103 100.00%
Democratic hold

District 5[edit]

WI 5th Congressional District.png

This solidly conservative[2] district based in the northern and western suburbs of Milwaukee, has been represented by Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner since he was first elected in 1978. Running for a seventeenth term, Sensenbrenner faced a nominal challenge from Democratic businessman Todd Kolosso and independent candidate Robert R. Raymond, who had run against the Congressman in previous elections.

The Wisconsin State Journal soured on Congressman Sensenbrenner, calling him "irascible" and announcing that he "has reached his 'sell-by' date." The State Journal endorsed Kolosso, who they claimed "would be a more engaged representative."[3]

Wisconsin's 5th congressional district election, 2010[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jim Sensenbrenner (inc.) 229,642 69.32%
Democratic Todd P. Kolosso 90,634 27.36%
Independent Robert R. Raymond 10,813 3.26%
Write-ins 169 0.05%
Totals 331,258 100.00%
Republican hold

District 6[edit]

WI 6th Congressional District.png

Incumbent Republican Congressman Tom Petri has represented this conservative-leaning[2] district based in east-central Wisconsin since he was first elected in a 1979 special election. Petri built a reputation as a moderate in Congress[6] and was well-liked by the constituents of his district. Though he faced a challenge from Democratic candidate Joseph Kallas, Petri was in no real danger of losing his seat.

The Wisconsin State Journal has high praise for Congressman Petri, referring to him as a "moderate...who builds bipartisan coalitions on education issues and brings a thoughtful take to foreign policy debates."[3]

Wisconsin's 6thcongressional district election, 2010[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tom Petri (inc.) 183,271 70.66%
Democratic Joseph C. Kallas 75,926 29.27%
Write-ins 170 0.07%
Totals 259,367 100.00%
Republican hold

District 7[edit]

WI 7th Congressional District.png

When long-serving Democratic Congressman Dave Obey, the dean of the Wisconsin congressional delegation and the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, declined to seek another term in this liberal-leaning[2] district based in northwestern Wisconsin. Democratic State Senator Julie Lassa emerged as her party’s nominee, while Ashland County District Attorney Sean Duffy, who had starred on MTV’s The Real World: Boston became the Republican nominee. A contentious general election ensued, in which the candidates traded barbs and personal attacks against each other.

Duffy alleged that as a State Senator, Lassa accepted a $2,530 pay increase, even while the state was losing jobs and undergoing a budget deficit. Politifact, however, questioned the accuracy of this attack, noting that Lassa had given back half of the pay increase.[7] Lassa returned fire with a hard-hitting television advertisement alleging that Duffy skimped on his responsibilities as a District Attorney and the quality of his office’s services declined as a result. Politifact again investigated this claim and rated it as "Barely true."[8]

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel praised both candidates in the race, observing, "both...candidates are a good fit for the district and would make able representatives." They praised Lassa for her "good work on several issues in the legislature," but ultimately endorsed Duffy, calling him, "the kind of independent thinker who might just shake things up in Washington."[9] The Wisconsin State Journal, on the other hand, endorsed Lassa as a "more experienced and a more independent thinker than former MTV star Sean Duffy."[3]

Wisconsin's 7th congressional district election, 2010[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Sean Duffy 132,551 52.11%
Democratic Julie Lassa 113,018 44.43%
Independent Gary Kauther 8,397 3.30%
Write-ins 423 0.17%
Totals 254,389 100.00%
Republican gain from Democratic

District 8[edit]

United States House of Representatives, Wisconsin District 8 map.gif

Seeking a third term in this marginally conservative[2] district based in northeastern Wisconsin and the Green Bay metropolitan area, incumbent Democratic Congressman Steve Kagen faced a stiff challenge from Republican Reid Ribble, a roofing contractor and former minister from Kaukauna. Kagen and Ribble engaged in a bitterly fought general election, with Kagen accusing Ribble of wanting to privatize Social Security[10] and Ribble responded by accusing Kagen of sending American jobs to China through his votes in Congress.[11]

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had praise for both the Democratic and Republican candidates, describing them as "pragmatic and able, well suited to a district that skews conservative," but ultimately endorsed Congressman Kagen for re-election, observing, "he has a reliably independent streak" and noting that Kagen "got it right" on many of the issues that Ribble attacked him over, "and that makes him the better pick."[12] The Wisconsin State Journal concurred, urging voters to "proudly re-elect" Congressman Kagen due to his opposition to the "bank bailout and bad trade deals" and his objections "to surging more troops into Afghanistan."[3] The Green Bay Press-Gazette, however, disagreed, endorsing Ribble as a person who "would approach the major challenges facing our country with a set of fresh eyes" and criticizing Congressman Kagen because "there are no significant pieces of legislation or contributions that stand out to convince us he deserves a third term."[13]

Wisconsin's 8th congressional district election, 2010[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Reid Ribble 143,998 54.77%
Democratic Steve Kagen (inc.) 118,646 45.12%
Write-ins 294 0.11%
Totals 262,938 100.00%
Republican gain from Democratic

References[edit]

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