Sabato's Crystal Ball

Wisconsin (08) House 2010

Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans R

Democratic candidate: Steve Kagen, Incumbent

Republican candidate: Reid Ribble, Contractor

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: October 28, 2010

Upon recent analysis, this race moves from Toss-Up to Leans Republican.

Update: October 14, 2010

Just a week ago, we upgraded this race as polling showed it to be surprisingly competitive. Now comes news that the NRCC has jumped into this race with both feet while the DCCC is running the other way. This contest is developing rapidly. Who knows what next week will bring? Thus, this race moves from Leans Democratic to Toss-Up.

Update: October 7, 2010

A series of shocking polls have shaken up this race, as Republicans argue that Democratic Rep. Steve Kagen is not only endangered, but on his way out the door. They point to two Republican-affiliated polls in the past month showing double-digit leads for their nominee, roofing contractor Reid Ribble. Kagen’s race has never been considered among the most competitive, as he is not a freshman (elected in 2006) and Ribble was never a highly touted candidate. Through the end of August, Kagen held an 11-to-1 advantage in campaign cash, but with the competitive GOP primary now over and Ribble on the NRCC’s list of “Young Guns,” a competitive race is likely. As this race heats up, the Crystal Ball rating in this district shifts from Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic.

Background:

Democratic incumbent Steve Kagan is running for his third term to represent Wisconsin’s 8th district. The district includes Green Bay, the Fox River Valley south to Appleton, inland dairy counties, North Woods, and the Door County peninsula. Kagan is fairly liberal and he already has a sizable financial advantage over his Republican counterparts. Also, he has time to make his case to voters while Republicans decide on a nominee.

Republican congressional candidates are currently battling one another in the hopes of winning the September 14th Republican primary and facing off against Kagan. The Republican candidates include Rep. Terri McCormick, lawyer Andy Williams, contractor Reid Ribble, Door County board supervisor Marc Savard, and state Rep. Roger Roth. Although McCormick is the frontrunner amongst the Republicans, Wisconsin is an important swing state and the 8th district frequently changes its political preferences. Bush won the district in the 2004 presidential election by 9 percentage points, but Obama won by the same margin in 2008.