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Ballotpedia's 2012 General Election Preview Articles: Wisconsin Congressional Seats

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October 31, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional team

Wisconsin’s Congressional Elections in 2012
U.S. Senate Election? U.S. House seats Possible competitive races?
Yes 8 1

MADISON: Wisconsin: There are 8 U.S. House seats and 1 U.S. Senate seat on the ballot in Wisconsin in 2012. Heading into general election on November 6, 2012, 100% of the congressional races are contested, meaning there are at least two candidates running in each of the 9 races. Seven incumbents are running for re-election to the House -- current incumbent Tammy Baldwin (D) is running for the open Senate seat.

U.S. Senate

Incumbent U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D) is not running for re-election in 2012. Tammy Baldwin, current U.S. Representative for district 2, is running as the Democratic candidate for his seat. She faces former state governor, Republican Tommy Thompson on November 6, 2012. Nimrod Allen III is running as an Independent and Joseph Kexel is running as a Libertarian.[1]

The race is considered competitive and is listed as a toss-up according to a Cook Political Report Race Rating from October 4, 2012. The battle could ultimately determine which party controls the chamber.[2]

U.S. House

Heading into the November 6 election, the Democratic Party holds 3 of the 8 Congressional seats from Wisconsin. Of the 16 possible major party primaries (2 parties, 3 seats), 2 (12.50%) were contested, below the national average. The remaining 14 party primaries contained only one candidate. Highlights from the August 14th primaries include:

  • The 2nd district seat -- open as incumbent Democrat Tammy Baldwin is running for Senate -- featured State Representative Mark Pocan winning the Democratic primary, defeating Kelda Helen Roys, Matt Silverman and Dennis Hall.[3] Pocan will face Chad Lee (R) in the general election.
  • 1st district incumbent Republican Paul Ryan was picked to be Mitt Romney's running mate for Vice-President.[4] Wisconsin law allows Ryan to run for both offices. If he wins his seat and is elected Vice-President, he would resign his congressional position and a special election would be held. If he loses the Vice-Presidency but wins his congressional seat, he may remain in Congress.[5] He is opposed by Democrat Rob Zerban in the general election.[6]

In Wisconsin, all polls are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM Central Time.[7] See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times (2012)

Here is a complete list of U.S. Senate and House candidates appearing on the general election ballot in Wisconsin:



State General Election Candidates Incumbent 2012 Winner Partisan Switch?
West Virginia Class 1 Senate seat Democratic Party Tammy Baldwin
Republican Party Tommy Thompson
Independent Nimrod Allen III
Libertarian Party Joseph Kexel
Herb Kohl Pending Pending


District General Election Candidates Incumbent 2012 Winner Partisan Switch?
1st Democratic Party Rob Zerban
Republican Party Paul Ryan
Libertarian Party Keith Deschler
Paul Ryan Pending Pending
2nd Democratic Party Mark Pocan
Republican Party Chad Lee
Tammy Baldwin Pending Pending
3rd Democratic Party Ron Kind
Republican Party Ray Boland
Ron Kind Pending Pending
4th Democratic Party Gwen Moore
Republican Party Dan Sebring
Independent Robert Raymond
Gwen Moore Pending Pending
5th Democratic Party Dave Heaster
Republican Party Jim Sensenbrenner
Jim Sensenbrenner Pending Pending
6th Democratic Party Joe Kallas
Republican Party Tom Petri
Tom Petri Pending Pending
7th Democratic Party Pat Kreitlow
Republican Party Sean Duffy
Independent Dale Lehner
Sean Duffy Pending Pending
8th Democratic Party Jamie Wall
Republican Party Reid Ribble
Reid Ribble Pending Pending
Members of the U.S. House from Wisconsin -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 3 3
     Republican Party 5 5
Total 8 8
 Congressional Redistricting Map, approved August 2011 

For more information, view Redistricting in Wisconsin.


See also