wisconsin

Dem Senate Takeover Probable, If Cruz or Trump Nominee

The prospect of Trump or Cruz at the top of the ticket makes Republicans holding onto control of the Senate much more difficult. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

With Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz seemingly positioned to fight it out for the Republican presidential nomination, Democrats are now poised to take over the Senate in November.  

The two Republicans still in the race who could help their party’s Senate prospects, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, continue to flounder. While a deadlocked GOP convention in Cleveland could, at least in theory, nominate a candidate with broad appeal and low enough negatives to revive the party’s Senate prospects, that development is both a long way in the future and a long shot.  

Ribble Retirement Creates Vulnerable GOP Open Seat

With Ribble, right, out of the picture, there will be renewed Democratic interest in his seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three-term Wisconsin Rep. Reid Ribble's retirement leaves Republicans with yet another competitive open seat to defend.  

Based on the 2008 presidential results, the 8th District looks like a great Democratic takeover opportunity. President Barack Obama carried the northeastern Wisconsin district, which includes Green Bay and Appleton, by 9 points and Democratic Rep. Steve Kagen was re-elected that same year by a similar margin.  

Reid Ribble Won't Seek Re-Election

Ribble won't seek a fourth term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three-term Wisconsin Republican Reid Ribble announced Saturday that he won't run for re-election — one term shy of the four-term limit pledge he made when first elected in 2010.  

"My reasons are fairly simple and straightforward. I feel very fortunate to have a strong marriage, grown children, and three wonderful grandchildren. I want to dedicate more time to them," Ribble said in a statement. Additionally, I’ve always said elected office shouldn’t be a career. I come from the private sector and am anxious to return to it and to a more private life."  

Obama’s Empty Campaign Threat on Gun Control

Obama listens to a question from Pintal County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu during a town hall event on Thursday. (Aude Guerrucci/Pool/Getty Images)

In the heat of his push for more gun control, President Barack Obama threatened to withhold support from anyone, including Democrats, who didn’t support “common-sense” changes. But based on the political realities of this cycle, his comments aren’t likely to dramatically impact Senate races.  

“Even as I continue to take every action possible as president, I will also take every action I can as a citizen,” Obama wrote in a New York Times op-ed . “I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform.”  

Top Races in 2016: The Midwest

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker votes in Milwaukee on Election Day 2014. (Darren Hauck/Getty Images File Photo)

This is the fourth in a series of eight regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races for 2016. The Midwest Region covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.  

Wisconsin Senate: Republican Ron Johnson knocked off Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold by 5 points in 2010, but Feingold is back to try to reclaim his seat. Even though Feingold lost re-election, he starts the rematch with a positive image and Republicans have to remind voters about why they fired him or what they should like about him in the years since he was tossed from office. Johnson is laser focused on fixing the economy and hasn’t bothered with some of the niceties of the Senate.  

Who Is the Second Most Vulnerable Senate Incumbent in 2016?

Johnson's re-election race, along with those of Ayotte and Toomey, are at the core of the battle for control of the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There is little doubt about the identity of the most vulnerable senator seeking re-election next year. It’s Illinois Republican Mark S. Kirk, who hopes to win a second term in a very Democratic state in a presidential year. His prospects are bleak.  

But who ranks just behind Kirk as the second most vulnerable senator up next year?  

TPP Will Be a Factor in Several 2016 Races

Feingold made trade a pillar of his attacks on Johnson in 2010. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The White House on Thursday released the much anticipated text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement — a trade deal that will likely play out in a number of top House and Senate contests in 2016, whether or not it's passed by Congress.  

Most of those races are located in the Rust Belt — states where past trade pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement from the 1990s are often blamed for the sharp decline in manufacturing jobs that once made the region prosper.  

Ryan Is Damned if He Does, and Damned if He Doesn’t

Ryan is the one person who might hold House Republicans together. But for how long? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I no longer underestimate Paul D. Ryan.  

I first met the Wisconsin Republican when he came in for an interview on Nov. 19, 1997. Then 27, he most recently had been a Capitol Hill staffer for conservative Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback.  

Key Races in 2016: Politicial Landscape Taking Shape

A few key races across the country next year will determine the balance of power in the Senate. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

   

Election Day is more than a year away, but the field of most competitive Senate and House races is already starting to take shape. While the political environment could change over the next 17 months, the landscape is largely set as a handful of races in each region will likely decide the majorities in the next Congress.  

Tech Consultant to Run Against Republican Sean Duffy

A Wisconsin tech consultant and who has appeared on stage says he will challenge Duffy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrat Kirk Bangstad, a Wisconsin entertainer and consultant who has worked with some of the country’s largest tech companies, announced Tuesday he will challenge Republican Rep. Sean P. Duffy in the state's 7th District.  

Like other candidates who have never held elected office, Bangstad said his message will be simple: “Washington is broken, and it will take someone who has not been there to fix it."