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Midwest

Untitled Document Illinois | Indiana | Michigan
Minnesota | Ohio | Wisconsin

Illinois

Filing deadline: Nov. 5, 2007
Primary: Feb. 5

Senate

Incumbent: Dick Durbin (D)
2nd term (60 percent)
Outlook: Safe Democratic

Likely heavy turnout for the Democratic presidential nominee — it could be Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), who grew up in suburban Chicago, or transplant-turned-Sen. Barack Obama — make Durbin a shoo-in for a third term.

In fact, many political observers suspect Durbin already is making a play for Majority Leader in two years, when Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) may be mulling retirement. Durbin, who does not have a Democratic primary opponent, sits on a war chest of more than $6 million.

So far, a handful of candidates have jumped into the race, including La Grange physician Steve Sauerberg (R) and Independent Alton Franklin.

House

3rd district
Incumbent: Dan Lipinski (D)
2nd term (77 percent)
Outlook: Safe Democratic

Lipinkski inherited the seat from his father, former Rep. Bill Lipinski (D), three years ago, but he faces a well-funded primary challenge this year from Mark Pera (D). An assistant Cook County state’s attorney, Pera raised almost $100,000 in the third quarter, outraising the incumbent by roughly $25,000.

Pera heads into the final months of 2007 with more than $180,000 in the bank, while Lipinski sits on more than $320,000.

But the largest factor in the race has very little to do with cash-on-hand totals. Lipinski, whose father was a Chicago alderman before heading to Capitol Hill, also is the favorite son of local Democratic party higher-ups. And many local political observers suspect that two candidates in the primary race, Palos Hills Mayor Jerry Bennett and lawyer Jim Capparelli, are only running to minimize Pera’s chances of forcing a one-on-one contest with Lipinski — just the type of race the Cook County Democratic political machine is working to avoid.

6th district
Incumbent: Peter Roskam (R)
1st term (51 percent)
Outlook: Likely Republican

After coming out on top last year in a slugfest with Tammy Duckworth (D), a disabled Iraq War veteran, Roskam may find himself running against another female Iraq War vet.

Duckworth, who was a top recruit of former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), has ruled out a rematch with Roskam, but Jill Morgenthaler (D), a retired Army colonel, recently got into the race.

It is way too early to tell what kind of candidate Morgenthaler will be. But Roskam, who holds the seat once held by his boss — now-retired Rep. Henry Hyde (R) — is considered a rising star in the 13-Member House GOP freshman class. And so far, Roskam has scared off other serious Democratic challengers by swinging for political singles and putting more than $600,000 in the bank.

8th district
Incumbent: Melissa Bean (D)
2nd term (51 percent)
Outlook: Leans Democratic

Bean knows she’s in enemy territory. Her district, a pie-shaped wedge whose crust lies along the Wisconsin border and runs south to northwestern Chicago suburbs, gave President Bush 56 percent of its vote in 2004, at the same time Bean was upsetting veteran Rep. Phil Crane (R).

So it’s no surprise Bean has drawn another prominent GOP challenger this cycle — and a rich one, to boot. Steve Greenberg (R), a local businessman, raised more than $181,000 during the third quarter of the year and, for now, has written himself a check for $10,000. But expect him to dump more of his own funds into the race as the cycle grinds out.

Last time, Republicans cast their lot with wealthy investment banker David McSweeney (R), who could pay his own way but proved to be a dud on the campaign trail. In 2007, Republicans claim they have the right mixture of campaign brawn and deep pockets in Greenberg, a former professional hockey player.

Expect Greenberg to eat plenty of fried chicken dinners and dip deep into his pockets as the race heats up; McSweeney wrote checks to his campaign for more than $2.8 million in the previous cycle. Even more, the National Republican Congressional Committee, whose cupboards are bare, is banking on Greenberg to take off some of the financial pressure in the expensive Chicago media market.

10th district
Incumbent: Mark Kirk (R)
4th term (53 percent)
Outlook: Leans Republican

Kirk, for now, can sit comfortably on the sidelines and watch two prominent Democrats soften each other up in what is likely to become a heated and expensive Democratic primary.

Former General Electric executive Dan Seals (D) spent about $1.9 million in the previous cycle to get within 14,000 votes of Kirk, who spent more than $3.5 million to retain the seat. Seals is giving it another go in 2008, but he must first beat back fellow Democrat Jay Footlik, a lobbyist and former Clinton White House aide.

Some local Democrats are warning that an ugly primary will quickly deplete Footlik and Seals’ resources, which the winner desperately will need to square off with Kirk, who is minting money again this cycle. So far this cycle, Kirk has raised more than $1.8 million and had $1.5 million banked as of Sept. 30.

Seals had raised $567,000 and Footlik $480,000 through the end of September.

Democrats are also warning that Footlik, who has worked for the State Department and has strong ties within the district’s large Jewish population, could damage their chances in the general election by portraying Seals as weak on foreign policy and wavering in his support of Israel.

Prominent Jewish politicians in the area such as Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D), however, are encouraging Democrats to coalesce around Seals, who has strong name recognition in the district.

Regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination, the early primary should allow the winner time to regain his footing, and Kirk should remain a top target throughout the election cycle. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will not take a pass on this district in 2008, the way it did last time.

11th district
Open seat: Jerry Weller (R) is retiring
Outlook: Tossup

Weller’s decision last month not to seek an eighth term has Democrats eyeing a pickup opportunity — a task that may be easier said than done.

Weller, whose questionable Nicaraguan land deals were highlighted by the Chicago Tribune in September, announced his retirement later that month — he said he wanted to spend more time with his wife, a Guatemalan lawmaker, and their young daughter. Within days, names of nearly a dozen GOP and Democratic candidates filtered out, including state Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson (D), the early odds-on favorite for her party’s nomination.

Potential GOP candidates in the mix: New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann, local GOP activist Jimmy Lee, Joliet lawyer Dick Cavanagh, bank president Jim Roolf, former Frankfort Mayor Ray Rossi and state Sen. Gary Dahl.

Although Democrats likely have their strongest chance of flipping the seat in Halvorson, the district twice picked President Bush by narrow margins.

14th district
Open seat: Dennis Hastert (R) is retiring
Outlook: Leans Republican

The former Speaker’s decision to step down — he may even vacate his seat early — is sketching a potentially complicated calculus for both parties, perhaps reminiscent of former Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s (R) sudden departure from his re-election race in Texas at the end of the summer of 2006.

Hastert, who represented his primarily exurban Chicago district for more than 20 years, won’t deny recent rumors that he may resign before the Land of Lincoln’s early February primary. And the state’s complex election laws, too, point to an early departure for the former Speaker, who must soon make a break for the exit doors to avoid forcing a costly special election for the cash-strapped GOP.

Having special and primary elections on different days can also result in inconsistent outcomes.

Linda Chapa LaVia, a popular Democratic state legislator, took an early pass on the race, a disappointment to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which in now relying on millionaire physicist Bill Foster (D) to carry the district. Foster, a first-time candidate, has committed to writing himself $1 million checks for both the primary and general elections.

John Laesch, the 2006 Democratic nominee, and attorney Jotham Stein (D) are also running.

On the Republican side, the combination of deep pockets and near-universal name recognition has made north Aurora dairy scion Jim Oberweis the early GOP frontrunner. But Oberweis, whose family owns an eponymous retail chain of Chicagoland milk and ice cream shops, is batting .000 in Republican primaries during the past six years.

State Sen. Chris Lauzen (R) also is campaigning vigorously for the GOP nod — particularly among the district’s conservative base. Lauzen’s reported run-ins with Hastert’s statewide GOP machine have created considerable barriers to his nomination. Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns (R) also continues to mull a possible run.

18th district
Open seat: Ray LaHood (R) is retiring
Outlook: Likely Republican

The seven-term incumbent announced in July that he would retire next year. Since then, the district has attracted considerable interest by both parties, despite heavy GOP presidential turnout in the district during the past two elections.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s recruiting was shaky in the district early on, as a number of top-tier candidates took a pass. Democrats now are casting their lot with Dick Versace (D), a former basketball coach for the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and Bradley University, which is in the district. Versace is touring the 8,000-plus square mile district in a recreational vehicle, which he has dubbed the “Common Sense Express,” a la presidential candidate Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) “Straight Talk Express.”

Peoria County prosecutor Kevin Lyons (D) also may run.

On the Republican side, 26-year-old state Rep. Aaron Schock is the early favorite for the GOP nomination. In late August, Schock released a poll showing him leading both the GOP field and potential Democratic candidates by a fairly substantial margin.

Indiana

Filing deadline: Feb. 22
Primary: May 6

House

2nd district
Incumbent: Joe Donnelly (D)
1st term (54 percent)
Outlook: Likely Democratic

Some Republicans were high on former Army Capt. Chris Minor until he dropped out of the race in mid-October, citing scheduling conflicts with his travels to Iraq. The Republican field has been wide-open since the Blackwater consultant’s exit.

Donnelly’s seat is the safest of the three that Republicans are trying to win back in the Hoosier State. The freshman also continues to satisfy his socially conservative constituents by voting against funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

Without a top-tier challenger, he should have a much easier time winning than he had last year.

5th district
Incumbent: Dan Burton (R)
13th term (65 percent)
Outlook: Safe Republican

In his solidly red Indianapolis-area district, Burton will keep his seat if he makes it through a potentially tough Republican primary. Former Marion County Coroner John McGoff (R) announced his candidacy in February, accusing the Congressman of not being conservative enough and chiding him for missing key votes while playing in a celebrity golf tournament.

McGoff has had a decent fundraising record for a primary challenger, raising $190,000 between February and the end of September. But that’s no match for Burton’s $871,000 in cash on hand.

The only way this turns into a real race for Burton is if the Club for Growth gets involved and brings some national attention to internecine Hoosier Republican battles.

7th district
Incumbent: Julia Carson (D)
6th term (54 percent)
Outlook: Likely Democratic

Carson tends to underperform her ticket-mates in what should be a safe Democratic district. Meanwhile, media reports about her nagging health problems raise questions about her political future. Although no one has announced a primary bid against her, it would not be surprising to see national Democratic leaders try to push her toward the door this cycle.

The 69-year-old Congresswoman has said she’s running for re-election, but operatives say she is grooming her grandson Andrew Carson (D), who often serves as a surrogate in her district, to replace her eventually. If she decides to retire this cycle, Democrats will probably have a better chance of holding onto what should be a certain seat for them.

8th district
Incumbent: Brad Ellsworth (D)
1st term (61 percent)
Outlook: Likely Democratic

Republicans have put up university lobbyist Greg Goode (R) to face the former sheriff. But a lackluster fundraising quarter for Goode might have dampened the GOP’s hopes for winning back this Republican district.

Hoosier voters have proven more than once that they are ticket-splitters and willing to go Republican in a presidential year while voting for Democrats further down the ballot.

Ellsworth should be safe this cycle, unless Goode proves worthy of his name.

9th district
Incumbent: Baron Hill (D)
1st term (50 percent; previously served three terms)
Outlook: Tossup

In the kind of matchup that is meant for the record books, Hill and former Rep. Mike Sodrel (R) will run against each other for the fourth time. The two men faced off for the first time in 2002, a contest Hill won by 5 points. Sodrel took the rematch in 2004 by a much closer margin before Hill took his seat back in 2006.

This likely will be the most competitive race in the state once again. National Republicans are behind Sodrel, a trucking company executive who said he has no plans to put his own money in the race but refused to rule out the possibility of doing so.

Sodrel has said he considered the top of the ticket in his calculation to run for a fourth time. Now that the presidential field is sorting itself out, one can only guess that Sodrel thought a ticket including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) might bring out Republican voters in southwestern Indiana, a state that has gone red in past presidential cycles. After all, Sodrel won the seat in 2004 — another presidential election year.

But Hoosier voters tend to be ticket-splitters, leaving the winner of this race uncertain for the time being.

Michigan

Filing deadline: May 13
Primary: Aug. 5

Senate

Incumbent: Carl Levin (D)
5th term (61 percent)
Outlook: Safe Democratic

Because Republicans couldn’t knock off Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) in the previous cycle, they’re not even trying with the state’s senior Senator, Levin. So far the 2002 nominee, former state Rep. Andrew “Rocky” Raczkowski, is running for the Republican nod, while state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk (R) is said to be considering a bid.

Raczkowski’s campaign is currently in debt.

House

1st district
Incumbent: Bart Stupak (D)
8th term (69 percent)
Outlook: Safe Democratic

Though Stupak has won with at least 60 percent in his last three elections, his socially conservative Upper Peninsula district might be ripe for the picking under the right circumstances.

Wolverine Republicans are supporting state Rep. Tom Casperson (R), but he’s raised only $25,000 so far in his campaign — a fraction of Stupak’s $337,000 in cash on hand as of Sept. 30.

While this district might vote Republican in the presidential years, Stupak will probably stick around given the national climate and his socially conservative track record in the region.

7th district
Incumbent: Tim Walberg (R)
1st term (50 percent)
Outlook: Tossup

In the tumultuous 7th, turnover has been the norm recently. After six-term former Rep. Nick Smith (R) retired, moderate Joe Schwarz (R) took the seat in 2004 — even beating out Smith’s son in a crowded GOP primary.

Schwarz also beat Walberg in that same 2004 primary, but Walberg rebounded to win the 2006 Republican contest and the general election. The second time around, Walberg has significant help from the Club for Growth.

Democrats think they have a good chance against the socially conservative Walberg in 2006. After all, their nominee last time, little-known organic farmer Sharon Renier (D) lost by only 3 points to Walberg, despite spending just $56,000.

Renier is running again this cycle, but national Democrats are most excited about recruiting state Senate Minority Leader Mark Schauer. He initially miffed Wolverine Democrats by declining a bid, but he changed his mind and jumped into the race in late August. Even so, the other Democrats except for Renier cleared the way for Schauer once he got in.

And one other wild card still remains: Will Schwarz and Walberg face each other in a third Republican primary? Schwarz hasn’t ruled out running again just yet, though some close to him say he likely won’t go for it.

9th district
Incumbent: Joe Knollenberg (R)
8th term (52 percent)
Outlook: Leans Republican

Former state Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters (D) was considered a top recruit for his party in this district, in no small part because he’s run statewide before. But radio talk show host Nancy Skinner (D) recently decided to enter the primary, much to national Democrats’ dismay.

While spending only $404,000 last time, Skinner got 46 percent. Democrats believe Peters can do better, but he must get through the primary first.

Knollenberg is battle-tested — he has never won by more than 59 percent since 2000. But if he can continue to raise money like he has so far this cycle — he had $868,000 in the bank as of Sept. 30 — he will likely hold onto his seat.

Minnesota

Filing deadline: July 15
Primary: Sept. 9

Senate

Incumbent: Norm Coleman (R)
1st term (50 percent)
Outlook: Tossup

Political trends in the Gopher State give Democrats hope of denying Coleman a second term. But some worry that they don’t necessarily have the men to do the job, despite an ever-growing field.

Comedian Al Franken has quite a bit of baggage, but he’s the apparent favorite for the nomination over wealthy attorney Mike Ciresi. More recently, professor and anti-war activist Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer joined the Democratic race, along with environmental attorney Jim Cohen.

In almost any other state, a candidate with Franken’s name identification and loyalty to the lefty base would walk away with the Democratic nomination. But the Senate candidates must first endure the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s endorsement process next summer — and all of the candidates have said they will abide by the party activists’ decision next summer and not force a primary in September.

Whoever wins the nod is going to have a challenge defeating Coleman, who was sitting on $5 million at the end of September. First-term Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) clobbered then-Rep. Mark Kennedy (R) in the 2006 Senate race, though it goes without saying that Franken is no Klobuchar. But if this state remains a Democratic stronghold in presidential years — it last voted for a Republican White House nominee in 1972 — then the liberal former radio host might just wind up in the Senate.

House

1st district
Incumbent: Tim Walz (D)
1st term (53 percent)
Outlook: Likely Democratic

The 1st district was considered more competitive in the previous cycle when longtime Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R) lost his re-election bid. Many pundits initially expected Walz to have a tough race again this cycle, but a muddled Republican field might have made his second race a whole lot easier than his first.

Republicans found state Sen. Dick Day and state Rep. Randy Demmer to run against Walz, but they haven’t been the candidates GOP leaders thought they’d be; both were outraised last quarter by physician Brian Davis (R). School board member Mark Meyer is also running for the GOP nod.

Perhaps whichever Republican wins the nomination will have enough momentum to give Walz a fight, but Republicans have no early favorite at this point and Walz seems to be solidifying his hold on the district.

3rd district
Open seat: Jim Ramstad (R) is retiring
Outlook: Tossup

Many Minnesota observers expected the open seat to be a free-for-all for ambitious pols in the region, but the field thinned out early on both sides — within a couple of weeks of Ramstad’s early October retirement announcement.

Republican support has largely coalesced around state Rep. Erik Paulsen. He might be more conservative than the moderate Ramstad, but Paulsen has a lot of support from Gopher State Republicans after more than a decade in the state House.

Though some political insiders say state Sen. Terri Bonoff (D) is a political novice (she was first elected in 2005), she raised nearly $90,00 in the first couple of weeks of announcing she was considering a bid for Congress.

Attorney and Iraq War Marine veteran Ashwin Madia (D) announced his candidacy in late October.

This seat is seen as a prime pickup opportunity for Democrats, though President Bush did win the district narrowly in 2000 and 2004.

6th district
Incumbent: Michele Bachmann (R)
1st term (50 percent)
Outlook: Likely Republican

Bachmann has gotten a bad rap for some of her antics since she was elected, such as hogging face time with President Bush after the State of the Union address and making odd comments to a local news outlet. Yet it’s hard to believe this suburban district could go any way but Republican.

Former state Transportation Commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg (D) is probably a better candidate for the 6th than 2004 and 2006 nominee Patty Wetterling (D), but first he’ll have to get past another Democrat. Attorney Bob Olsen (D) is a self-funder, but Tinklenberg’s popularity is hard to match among local Democratic activists.

Tinklenberg could certainly get closer to Bachmann than Wetterling did, but the district just might be too conservative to be in play for Democrats.

Ohio

Filing deadline: Jan. 4
Primary: March 4

House

1st district
Incumbent: Steve Chabot (R)
7th term (52 percent)
Outlook: Leans Republican

Chabot staved off Cincinnati City Councilman John Cranley (D) in 2006 by 5 points, though the Congressman outspent Cranley by about $1 million. The battle-tested Chabot has been targeted by Democrats without success throughout his career, although redistricting has helped him hold onto his seat.

Democrats think they have finally found a match for the seven-term Member in state Rep. Steve Driehaus (D). The Ohio lawmaker turned down the opportunity to challenge Chabot in the previous cycle, but he can’t run again for his current seat because of legislative term limits.

Chabot should not expect to have the kind of financial support from national Republicans this time around that he did in 2006. But this seat still leans Republican and Democrats might have missed their shot to take down Chabot once and for all in the 2006 wave.

2nd district
Incumbent: Jean Schmidt (R)
2nd term (50 percent)
Outlook: Tossup

Despite this suburban Cincinnati district having a ruby red hue, voters aren’t happy with Schmidt. This should be an easy district for Republicans, but Schmidt won it over physician Victoria Wulsin (D) by only 2,500 votes in 2006.

The Congresswoman is weak enough to have gotten a primary challenge from former Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich (R), who had more than twice as much cash on hand as Schmidt as of Sept. 30.

But Schmidt isn’t the only one with a primary challenge. Attorney Steve Black is also running for the Democratic nod, and so far both contenders have raised comparable amounts, though Wulsin had more on hand at the end of September.

If Schmidt wins the primary, then this seat is in play for Democrats. If she loses, then Republicans have a much better chance of keeping the district red in 2008.

5th district
Open seat: Rep. Paul Gillmor (R) died on Sept. 6
Outlook: Safe Republican

State Sen. Steve Buehrer and state Rep. Bob Latta are facing off in a special Republican primary on Nov. 6, which in all likelihood will determine who the next Member is. 2004 and 2006 Democratic nominee Robin Weirauch is running again, but it’s difficult for any Democrat to make an impression in this conservative district. The primary winners will move on to a special general election on Dec. 11.

Buehrer has been endorsed by a plethora of conservative organizations, most importantly the Club for Growth, which has made several ad buys in his favor.

Latta has greater name identification in the district, however, because his father was Gillmor’s predecessor. Latta even lost to Gillmor by just two dozen votes in the 1988 Republican primary.

7th district
Open seat: Rep. David Hobson (R) is retiring
Outlook: Safe Republican

Almost moments after Hobson announced his retirement, state Sen. Steve Austria (R) announced he would run for this seat. In addition to being friends for more than two decades, Austria holds the state Senate seat that Hobson had before he ran for Congress.

While this open seat might be more competitive than the 5th district, it’s still not very winnable for Democrats. Their only talked-about candidate, a local sheriff, declined to run soon after the seat opened up — citing Austria’s strength as the primary reason.

So far no other strong Republican candidate has announced for the seat, paving the way for Austria to take over.

10th district
Incumbent: Dennis Kucinich (D)
6th term (66 percent)
Outlook: Safe Democratic

If there is one place in the country where Kucinich’s presidential bid is not going over well, it’s his home district in Cleveland.

His presidential campaign is no longer talking to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, which did not endorse his re-election bid in 2006. The largest paper in the district instead endorsed Barbara Anne Ferris, a nonprofit executive who has announced she is running again.

Former journalist Rosemary Palmer (D), whose son was killed in Iraq, also is running in the primary against Kucinich.

Both women raised more than Kucinich did in the third quarter of the year — not a difficult feat because the presidential candidate raised only $40 for his Congressional campaign, leaving him with less than $3,900 in cash on hand, though he has $327,000 in transferable funds from his presidential account.

There certainly is an opportunity for a strong primary challenge back home while Kucinich campaigns across the country, but whether Palmer or Ferris are the right candidates for the job is yet to be determined.

14th district
Incumbent: Steven LaTourette (R)
7th term (58 percent)
Outlook: Likely Republican

LaTourette might have his first real challenge in a decade from former state Appeals Judge William O'Neill (D).

O’Neill has run some unique campaigns in the past, most notably a judicial election in which he didn’t accept any campaign contributions. But the district is probably just too Republican for any Democrat to take it, especially in a presidential turnout year.

15th district
Open seat: Deborah Pryce (R) is retiring
Outlook: Leans Democratic

Pryce’s somewhat surprising retirement left Republicans scrambling for a good opponent for 2006 nominee Mary Jo Kilroy (D), a Franklin County commissioner who finished just 1,000 votes behind Pryce last year. The day Pryce announced her intentions last August was probably the best day of Kilroy’s political career after losing the very close election last fall.

Kilroy is sitting pretty to win the seat unless Republicans find a worthy candidate soon.

16th district
Open seat: Ralph Regula (R) is retiring
Outlook: Tossup

Although Regula usually won by large margins during his 18 terms in office, his departure puts this district in play for 2008.

Ashland County Commissioner Matt Miller and state Sen. Kirk Schuring are running for the Republican nod. Miller ran in the primary last year against Regula and got a respectable 42 percent of the vote after spending very little money. But Schuring already has a fundraising edge with $151,000 in cash on hand through September, while state Sen. Ron Amstutz (R) is waiting until after November local elections before deciding whether to run for the seat.

Meanwhile, Democrats have coalesced around state Sen. John Boccieri, a rising star in the state party who had a head start in the money race and at the end of September had more than Schuring and Miller combined in cash on hand.

With the right campaign and fundraising, this district could be a pickup opportunity for Democrats, but a 36-year Republican legacy still may be hard to beat.

18th district
Incumbent: Zack Space (D)
1st term (62 percent)
Outlook: Likely Democratic

It took a jailed Republican to make this seat go blue, but now all eyes are on Space to see if he can keep the seat for Democrats. Lucky for this son of Socrates, Republicans have had trouble finding a top-flight challenger for the seat.

Former Guernsey County Magistrate Jeanette Moll (R) and former state Agriculture Director Fred Dailey (R) are running, but both have posted less-than-impressive fundraising numbers. Republicans say attorney Paul Phillips (R), an Iraq War veteran, is a quality candidate, but his pitiful fundraising will make any campaign difficult to wage.

Space may have gotten lucky once again in this district, which went 57 percent for President Bush in 2004. Especially if Republicans still see some Ney on the ballot in 2008, Space will be hard-pressed to get lost on the way to re-election.

Wisconsin

Filing deadline: July 8
Primary: Sept. 9

House

8th district
Incumbent: Steve Kagen (D)
1st term (51 percent)
Outlook: Tossup

Kagen, who some Republicans derisively refer to as “Dr. Millionaire,” first made headlines in 2006 when he put more than $2.5 million of his own funds into his successful race against then-Assembly Speaker John Gard (R).

Kagen again made headlines this year when it was reported that he made some controversial comments at a White House function, which he later said he had been joking about. He still had to publicly apologize for mishandling the situation.

National Republicans and Gard hope to capitalize on Kagen’s missteps to take the seat back in 2008. Gard has said that Kagen won last time only because national trends took hold in the nominally Republican district. But if Kagen self-funds again, Gard might have his work cut out for him without substantial backing from the cash-strapped National Republican Congressional Committee.

Through Sept. 30, Kagan had $550,000 on hand and Gard had $117,000.

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