Wisconsin's representatives in Washington don't change much. The only House district that is generally competitive is CD 8 (Green Bay, Appleton area) while the other seven simply don't have many strong challenges. CD 5 and 6 are strongly Republican while 2 and 4 are heavily Democratic. That leaves CD 1 (Janesville, Racine, Kenosha), which for years was Les Aspin's district but now the stalwart Republican Paul Ryan has made that seat a safe GOP hold. That leaves CD 3 (Ron Kind) and CD 7 (Open). In a normal year, Ron Kind should win easily but in an anti-incumbent year he's vulnerable and a strong challenge from LaCrosse State Senator Dan Kapanke will keep the election very close. Kapanke will have the summer and fall to range up and down the western part of the state campaigning while Kind will have to stay in Washington making tough votes on Medicare, the budget, and a host of other topics. In CD 7, David Obey has decided that 41 years is enough and will not run. He went to Congress in 1969 after winning a special election and has represented the district ever since. A tough, telegenic prosecutor from the northern end of the district, Sean Duffy, now has at least an even chance of winning the seat for the GOP. District 7 starts in the north-central part of the state in Wausau (Obey's hometown) and runs northwest to Superior on the Minnesota border. Now slightly more Democratic than Republican it should be a good test case for races that are truly competitive. Hopefully we'll get some good polling data soon.
If you would have told me that Russ Feingold was vulnerable after popular four-term GOP governor Tommy Thompson dropped out I would have disagreed. Just today, however, Rasmussen Reports has published a poll that shows Oshkosh businessman Ron Johnson statistically tied with Feingold. In a state that rarely defeats incumbent senators, (Feingold has been elected three times, Herb Kohl four times) this is a truly startling development. Any three-term Democrat that is getting 45% of the vote this time of the year is in great danger. This race is starting to look a lot like the Washington State race and will be fun to watch.