Wisconsin US Senate Seat Race 2012 – Possible Matchups

By YeOldeScribe ~ May 21st, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

Welcome to a special weekend edition of Political Progressives. Our writer should have a new computer by either Monday or Tuesday, so our normal post schedule will resume shortly. We’d like to thank our readers for being patient with us – a lot of changes have been going on in the lives of the Political Progressives team members, and we’re really thankful to our readers for helping us along.

Anyway, today’s post is covering other possible matchups in the race for one of Wisconsin’s US Senate seats, which is up for grabs in 2012 after Herb Kohl recently announced that he would not be running for a fourth term. We already gave you extensive coverage on this race earlier in the week, looking first at Republican candidates, then at Democratic challengers, and Thursday we presented who we thought would go toe to toe next November (Current Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and former US Senator Russ Feingold) in the race for the open seat, predicting that Feingold would win comfortably. For more information on any of those topics, feel free to click the links which will take you to very in-depth coverage on those issues.

But we’ll be the first to admit that we’re human and we make mistakes – especially when trying to predict an election more than a year out, before any candidate has officially declared he or she is running. So today, we’re going to take a look at other possible matchups for this race, and see how the candidates would stack up against each other. Again, we’re standing by our prediction that Feingold will beat Van Hollen, but there’s no guarantee either will run. so just in case that matchup doesn’t happen, we’ll take a look at some other possible matchups, even if we don’t foresee them ever happening.

Feingold v. Thompson

This is an easy win for Feingold. Sure, staunch Republicans love Thompson, and he does have solid name recognition in the state, two things that would be key to any Republicans interested in taking down Feingold. But what he doesn’t have is appeal to independent or liberal-leaning voters. Thompson was picked by the Bush administration to head a department, something that won’t resonate well with that voting block. Also, Thompson was known for his liberal use of the line-item veto while he was governor – but don’t let that fool you – he used the line-item veto liberally (meaning often) mostly to screw with policies put forth by Democrats which he disagreed with. He would cross out entire sentences leaving only some words left to make an entirely new sentences (and subsequently creating entirely new legislation different than what was passed by the legislature). That’s not a way to win friends and influence people, and especially when our current Republican governor is being charged by many as unethically abusing his power, Feingold would shine a spotlight on Thompson’s less than pristine past and cruise to an easy victory.

Feingold v. Neumann

Mark Neumann is a tragic example of why politics isn’t fair. Neumann actually has a good political record and isn’t a horrible person, unlike most of his Republican counterparts. He worked hard for the state as a Representative in Congress, and would probably make a fine Senator, too. But it’s just not going to happen. Whether it’s his personality or style or likability, Neumann just can’t seem to win an election (even a primary). We think that of our alternate scenarios, this would be a closer one, but we’d still give the edge to Feingold by at least seven points.

Feingold v. Fitzgerald

Maybe we’re wrong on this and maybe the fervor over what happened at the capitol will have died down and be forgotten by 2012. We don’t think it will though – teachers and union workers are not quick to forget those that smite them, and the juggernaut that is Wisconsin unions is not easily felled. Between the unions and Feingold himself – who knows how to run a campaign that is offensive yet tactful, Fitzgerald won’t be able to get away from his reckless behavior earlier this year and he’ll be seen for the bully he is. And what’s the best way to take down a bully? Numbers – and that’s exactly what Democrats will have in 2012. Feingold would win this matchup by double digits.

Baldwin v. Thompson

Tommy would get more support in this matchup because Tammy is actually further to the left than Thompson is to the right, meaning Thompson could capture more of the independent vote. Were this the matchup, we’d predict that Tommy would put some of that Thompson charm to good use that allowed him to stay in office much longer than he should have and win the election by two points.

Baldwin v. Neumann

We feel bad here for Neumann. We really do. In this matchup, we’d probably vote for him, because he’s much closer to the center than Baldwin is and he probably represents the state better than she does. But could he win this election? We don’t think so. It would be a close, hard-fought battle, but in the end, Baldwin would be able to champion her experience and narrowly win – possibly by as little as one point.

Baldwin v. Fitzgerald

This one is pretty much a toss up. Both candidates will be hated by the opposition, and wouldn’t especially appeal to the opposition. The difference here will be the climate – as we pointed out earlier this week, Democrats will be able to ride Obama’s re-election campaign, and while Baldwin will be hated for who she is, Fitzgerald will be hated for what he’s done. The difference is key for independent voters. Baldwin wins by four points.

Baldwin v. Van Hollen

Van Hollen can tout his record as AG as much as Baldwin could tout her experience in Congress. The difference here is that Van Hollen has experience working with the other side of the aisle, whereas Baldwin acts like Republicans are the devil. One of the reasons we don’t think Baldwin would be a good fit as a Senator is because she wouldn’t represent all of Wisconsin. Right now, she’s doing a fine job representing Madison’s interests, which is what she’s elected to do as the Representative for that area. But she’s just too radical for the state as a whole. Van Hollen would capture the independent vote here and easily win, by eight points.

Kagen v. Thompson

A battle between two people who should have probably stayed out of politics when they had the chance – a prefect election for anyone who hates democracy. Of all the matchups we’ve presented to you so far, this is the one we want to see the least. If we had to pick a winner, we’d go with Kagen, mainly because the climate favors Democrats. Still, in this matchup, no one wins – especially not the people of Wisconsin.

Kagen v. Neumann

Another matchup featuring two politicans who have recently lost elections – and that’s music to Mark Neumann’s ears. Kagen can’t play the “you lose elections as a profession” card because he just lost one himself. We’re predicting that in this matchup, Neumann would tie Kagen to the lead weight that is health care reform and win with centrists and even conservative Democrats (which is good, because he’ll probably turn off some solid Republicans from going out to vote for him). Neumann wins (we can’t believe we’re typing it either, although we’re happy about it) by four.

Kagen v. Fitzgerald

As much as we don’t like Kagen as a person, we have to admit that he does make a decent politican, and is a bit more centrist than people give him credit for. His experience in running a larger campaign would pay off in this election, and he’d be able to take on the not so elegand and subtle Fitzgerald fairly well, winning the election by four points.

Kagen v. Van Hollen

Van Hollen matches up perfectly here. He’s not divisive like many other Republican candidates are. He hasn’t said anything stupid (that we know of) that the Kagen campaign would pounce on. He has a great track record and the only negative to him is that he has no political experience. Yet many Wisconsinites see that as a good thing (just ask Russ about that), and he could paint Kagen as a bleeding heart liberal and a loser. Van Hollen by six.

We’ve got more we’d like to discuss on this issue, so perhaps we’ll do one last post on this race on Monday, taking a look at how one more Democratic challenger would stack up against the Republicans, and also looking at how a candidate coming out of nowhere (for either Republicans or Democrats) would fare against established politicans, or against each other.

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