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Wisconsin

Outlook: Leans Democratic


November 8, 2006 Update:

Jim Doyle (D) won reelection over Mark Green (R) with 53% of the vote.

August 2, 2006 Update:

Governor Jim Doyle may now be the most endangered Democratic governor in the country, despite the Democratic nature of the year. The Doyle-Green race is going to go right down to the wire; it is simply unpredictable at the moment. The state would love to have Tommy Thompson back as governor, and eventually the resident here will accept it and move on. Doyle, Congressman Mark Green and others all appear inadequate by comparison

June 1, 2006 Update:

Governor Jim Doyle joins several other Midwestern governors–from both parties–on the endangered list. We give him a slight edge over the Republican nominee-to-be, Congressman Mark Green, who essentially inherited the nomination when Scott Walker withdrew. Doyle would have lost if former Governor Tommy Thompson had decided to run, but as expected he demurred. We will probably be watching this contest until November.

March 27, 2006 Update:

Here is yet another incumbent governor who has yet to succeed at achieving high popularity during his term, and as a consequence Gov. Jim Doyle is still very vulnerable to the eventual Republican nominee. But, he has the good fortune to be running in a moderately Democratic year, and this may be enough. Watch this one though.

Update:

When the Crystal Ball asks Democratic and Republican gubernatorial analysts to name their greatest hope or fear, almost all pick Wisconsin. This contest between Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle and Republican Congressman Mark Green continues to be extremely close, very expensive and hard-fought, and it could go either way. President George W. Bush was recently in Wisconsin to help Green, though other than the money, it is doubtful that Bush can pull many votes for him this year.


Background

Democrats finally elected a governor in the Badger State in 2002, state Attorney General Jim Doyle, after 14 years of Republican Governor Tommy Thompson. First elected in 1986, Thompson left in 2001 to join President Bush’s Cabinet as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Lt. Gov. Scott McCallum inherited the governorship, but couldn’t keep it, losing in a multi-candidate contest to Doyle, 42 percent to 45 percent.

In both 2000 and 2004, the presidential results could hardly have been closer (with Democrats edging Bush narrowly both times). This suggests the possibility of a competitive battle for Doyle as he bids for his second term in ’06. However, the only Republican who would be favored to beat Doyle would be–you guessed it–Tommy Thompson. It’s no secret that Thompson loved being governor, and it is not impossible that he would run again.

We’re going to bet that private life–which Thompson just assumed after eighteen years in high public office–will prove enticing enough to keep him out of the ’06 election. If so, Doyle has a much better chance to get a second term. However, it is entirely possible that Republican Congressman Mark Green (no, not the doctor from ER), who has now announced that he is running for governor, could make Doyle sweat. First, though, Green has to get by Milwaukee County executive Scott Walker in the GOP primary.

Candidates

Jim Doyle (I) – Democrat – current Governor and former state attorney general
Website

Mark Green – Republican – current U.S. Congressman
Website