As posted in WisOpinion.com
In 2012 Democrat Tammy Baldwin used a tried and true formula to win the U.S. Senate race over Republican Tommy Thompson: win more votes in her southern Wisconsin base of Dane and Milwaukee County than her GOP opponent did in the Milwaukee suburbs, and then battle to a dead-heat up North. Baldwin received 54.8% of the two-party vote in the Madison and Milwaukee markets combined and eked out a bare majority of 50.1% in the state’s 5 northern Markets, three of which (Green Bay/Wausau-Rhinelander/LaCrosse-Eau Claire) are contained within our borders and thus heavily fought over.
The North has been what I term the “swinging gate” of Badger State politics for nearly every election beginning with Barack Obama’s extraordinary victory in 2008, when he carried virtually every county throughout the North, and continuing through Scott Walker’s three victories and the Democratic victories in 2012. The margins between each of these elections have fluctuated much more in the North than in the more reliable South, bound tightly by the polar opposite political regions of Milwaukee/Madison and the so-called WOW counties in-between.
Little surprise then that incumbent Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who produced an Obama-like margin (16 pts) in a much lower turnout election this past Tuesday, would perform extremely well throughout her native Northern Wisconsin.