Saturday, October 14, 2006

Wisconsin U.S. Senate Race

Race of the Day

October 14, 2006
24 Days Until Election Day (alert Jack Bauer)

Wisconsin U.S. Senate

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2004 Presidential Result: Blue State (Midwest)

Outlook: Safe Democrat

Three-term Democrat Senator Herb Kohl is an extremely wealthy man who lives frugally in his personal life but spends lavishly to self-finance his Senate campaigns. Considering that he has not really faced any sort of imminent danger to his seat at least since 1994, some might accuse him of overkill, but he clearly thinks it is money well spent.

Kohl may not have the profile of his Badger State colleague Russ Feingold either at home or on Capitol Hill, and as the 2006 election cycle began, there was a good deal of speculation that Kohl would not run for reelection for a fourth term and would instead content himself with such things as his role as owner of the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA. The months progressed however with no retirement announcement and it became more obvious that Kohl was intending to stick around. During this time, no top tier Republican stepped forward to oppose him although former Wisconsin Governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson was clearly being pushed to run by many Republicans. Polls showed that Thompson would have been in a very close race against Kohl, and such a contest would have been among the hottest in the nation this year, but after several months of flirting with a political comeback, Thompson eventually decided not to run for any office in 2006. A few other Republicans, who had run previously unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaigns, were mentioned, but they too declined.

Therefore, the GOP nominee by default is an attorney named Robert Gerald Lorge, who is one half of a brotherly duo of quixotic Republican perennial candidates. The Lorge opposing Kohl sought the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2004 and served as the party’s sacrificial lamb in a 2002 Secretary of State race, while his brother, who did once serve in the state legislature, has unsuccessfully sought GOP nominations for statewide offices, despite the fact, or perhaps because of, being an Elvis impersonator.

The only polls taken on this particular race have shown Kohl with leads of over 25 points designating him as among the safest incumbents running this year. The race is such a mismatch that liberals will probably feel more free to cast a vote for the candidate of the Green Party in order to express dissatisfaction with some parts of Kohl’s voting record, without it hurting the outcome of the race.

Had the GOP nominated some sort of a more credible candidate, capable of raising a legitimate amount of money, Kohl would have at least have to work to earn reelection and also get his money’s worth in defending his seat. In this instance though, Kohl can cut prices, just as the department store chair that was named for his family, often does. The Senate contest in Wisconsin might be of some interest to Cheesehead political junkies, and drunken dispirited Packers fans, but is extremely low profile elsewhere.

Lorge campaign link:

2006 Senate races predicted thus far: 19 D, 13 R
Post-election Senate balance of power predicted thus far: 46 D, 53 R

NFL Week 6

1. Bills (2-3) at Lions (0-5)
2. Texans (1-3) at Cowboys (2-2)
3. Giants (2-2) at Falcons (3-1)
4. Seahawks (3-1) at Rams (4-1)
5. Titans (0-5) at Redskins (2-3)
6. Panthers (3-2) at Ravens (4-1)
7. Eagles (4-1) at Saints (4-1)
8. Bengals (3-1) at Buccaneers (0-4)
9. Dolphins (1-4) at Jets (2-3)
10. Chiefs (2-2) at Steelers (1-3)
11. Chargers (3-1) at 49'ers (2-3)
12. Raiders (0-4) at Broncos (3-1)
13. Bears (5-0) at Cardinals (1-4)

Score thus far: 42-32 (57%)