I've been so busy over the last day watching Twitter, Facebook, news sites, and TV I didn't have a good chance to write my wrap-up of what happened last night both Nationally, Statewide, and Locally. Wow, where to begin?
This is actually the easiest one to analyze. It's no real surprise that President Obama cruised to victory for anyone that was seriously watching the race, the models (obligatory shout-out to Nate Silver) and the polls. As for President Obama winning Wisconsin, it was a bit in question earlier in October, but much like the national tide, it was fairly obvious in the last week or two that he was going to win. I'm slightly surprised by the margin and speed that he was able to win, but again... tide matters.
US Senate Race:
I told you back in June that Tommy's not winning. Okay, I was wrong in the fact that he DID make it out of the primaries, but once he won I reaffirmed the fact that he would not win his bid for US Senate against Tammy Baldwin. That turned out to be more than true. The preemptive Twitter reports of Tammy winning gave a jolt to those of us following on there, but the fact that she won when she did was amazing. Tommy Thompson is an institution in this state, and when the rebuke of his campaign came as early as it did, even I was surprised. I can't think of anyone better to hold the mantle of the Senate Seat Robert La Follette held 100 years ago.
How did Tammy win? Two words: ground game. Thompson was right to point out during the campaign that she did have the luxury of not having to get mired down in a bitter primary. She went back and forth across Wisconsin talking with people from all corners of the state and proving once again that if you want to win Wisconsin, you have to admit the electorate exists North of Highway 23. I'll dive into the numbers a little bit more over the next week or so, but one great thing I saw from Craig Gilbert on the Journal-Sentinel today was the fact that Tammy did well in Northern Wisconsin, where Tommy actually ran behind Romney! (Excellent article from Gilbert breaking down the "Ticket Splitting" here: http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/177673851.html)
Wisconsin State Senate - 18th District:
Look, there was never any doubt that with who the Democrats had running in the 12th District to replace retiring Senator Jim Holperin, that the only shot they had to remain even remotely relevant was holding on to Senator Jessica King's seat in the 18th District. Sadly, as of right now the vote margin is at 590 votes in favor of the Republican, Fond du Lac City Council President Rick Gudex. The redistricting certainly didn't help King, but the fact of the matter is that this seat has been close in the last few years and King worked the district relentlessly over the last two years in order to be highly visible. Her loss is 100% indicative of the fact that: a) Outside spending going HANDILY to Republicans still matters, especially on local elections, and b) The Democratic Party of Wisconsin doesn't have it's stuff together. I echo the sentiment of Jeff Simpson @ Cognitive Dissidence: Mike Tate has to go.
The fact that the only radio advertising you heard, even up til 7:54 pm on election night, was for Gudex should have been an omen. Where was the state party in this race? Seriously?! The fact that the Republican Party was able to effectively organize this area to instill a non-college graduated #batshitcrazy idea, Tea Party-esque WMC foot soldier, in the State Senate scares me. What scares me even more is the fact that they did it by taking it from a person who is the embodiment of someone who works hard, succeeds based on their hard work, but recognizes that the Government helped her and her family out along the way.
Hey Wisconsin Progressives/Democrats/Liberals... Quit thinking that party politics doesn't matter. Damn it, if you're not a member of the political party join! If you are a member, I think it's time that we demand more from the leadership and turn it over. Mr. Tate has done amicable, but the day is new and it's time to come back with a fresh start.