Feb. 10, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Race Ratings: Wisconsin GOP Likely to Keep Majority

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Reid Ribble so far has yet to garner a Democratic challenger, but Democrats think the freshman Congressman is beatable.

Redistricting in Wisconsin is unlikely to help Democrats win back the two House seats in the state that they lost last year, and with 14 months to go, Republicans are favored to maintain their 5-3 majority in the Congressional delegation.

The redistricting map, drawn by Republican state legislators and signed into law in August by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, put incumbents in all eight of Wisconsin's newly drawn districts in no immediate political danger.

Overall, there are only two potentially competitive districts, both seats newly held by Republicans: Reps. Sean Duffy and Reid Ribble. They are the top two targets, but Democrats would also love to unseat Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, whose loss would be a symbolic victory for the party.

Ryan has become a lightning rod for Democratic criticism as the architect of a budget plan that overhauls Medicare, and his name is being uttered in every competitive district across the country. But Ryan's district picked up Republican voters on the new map, making him even more difficult to beat than he was in the past decade.

Duffy, who won the seat of former Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D), was also a benefactor of redistricting. Still, his is the toughest district for a Republican in the Badger State, and the freshman could have a real race on his hands next year.

1st district
Incumbent: Paul Ryan (R)
7th term (68 percent)
Rating: Likely Republican

Democrats are touting Kenosha County Supervisor Rob Zerban as a strong candidate to take out Ryan, but the reality is the Republican "young gun" with a national profile will be nearly impossible to beat.

Ryan has never won re-election with less than 63 percent, and his district added Republican voters and is now more favorable than it's ever been. On top of that, Ryan starts out with a heavy fundraising edge, reporting more than $3.8 million in the bank at the end of June.

In the second quarter, Zerban raised $100,000 and loaned his campaign $120,000, ending with about $200,000 in cash on hand.

2nd district
Open Seat
Rating: Safe Democratic

With Rep. Tammy Baldwin running for Senate, there will be several Democrats looking to take over this strongly Democratic seat.

State Reps. Mark Pocan and Kelda Helen Roys announced their candidacies the morning after Baldwin made her Senate bid official, and state Sen. Jon Erpenbach was taking a look at the seat as well. The winner of the Democratic primary will be heavily favored to hold this Madison-based district.

3rd district
Incumbent: Ron Kind (D)
8th term (50 percent)
Rating: Likely Democratic

Like the 2nd district, if Kind opts to run for Senate, there will be a rush of Democrats looking to win this seat.

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