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CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.
District Profile from Politics in America
From the wealthy Milwaukee suburbs on the coast of Lake Michigan to the center of Rock County in central Wisconsin, the 1st blends rural communities with some of the state's largest industrial areas. The district's two largest cities, Racine and Kenosha, are sandwiched between Milwaukee and Chicago along the lake and Interstate 94.
Kenosha and Walworth counties, two major manufacturing areas, have experienced faster population growth than the state's average. Much of this expansion is due to new residents attracted by lower housing prices and cheaper living and who commute to Milwaukee or Chicago, both less than an hour's drive away.
Manufacturing losses and several years of extensive layoffs at major regional employers such as Abbott Laboratories, an Illinois-based pharmaceutical company, hurt the local economies in Kenosha, Racine and Rock counties. But SC Johnson and Son, the consumer products manufacturer, continues to have a major presence in the area. On the other side of the district, Janesville lost a primary source of jobs when the General Motors plant there closed in 2008, but union workers hope the automaker will reopen the plant. Resorts catering to wealthy vacationers from nearby Chicago ring Lake Geneva and Lake Delavan in Walworth County and have given the area a bit of an economic boost.
The 1st consistently backs conservative Rep. Paul D. Ryan but is split rather evenly between the parties. Its GOP lean isn't assured in presidential elections: George W. Bush won here in 2004 by 7 percentage points, but Barack Obama took 51 percent in 2008. Republican Ron Johnson beat Democrat Russ Feingold in each of the three counties entirely within the district in 2010, but won only 52 percent in once strongly Democratic Kenosha County while taking the U.S. Senate seat.
Kenosha, 99,218; Racine, 78,860; Janesville (pt.), 63,122; Greenfield (pt.), 36,705; Franklin, 35,451; Oak Creek, 34,451
Racine hosts the annual Salmon-A-Rama fishing contest; C. Latham Sholes invented the typewriter in Kenosha.
|2010||general||Paul Ryan (R)||179,819||68.2%|
|John Heckenlively (D)||79,363||30.1%|
|Joseph Kexel (LIBERT)||4,311||1.6%|
|2008||general||Paul Ryan (R)||231,009||64%|
|Marge Krupp (D)||125,268||34.7%|
|Joseph Kexel (LIBERT)||4,606||1.3%|
|2006||general||Paul Ryan (R)||161,320||62.6%|
|Jeffrey Thomas (D)||95,761||37.2%|
|2004||general||Paul Ryan (R)||233,372||65.4%|
|Jeffrey Thomas (D)||116,250||32.6%|
|Norman Aulabaugh (I)||4,252||1.2%|
|Don Bernau (LIBERT)||2,936||0.8%|
|2002||general||Paul Ryan (R)||140,176||67.2%|
|Jeffrey Thomas (D)||63,895||30.6%|
|George Meyers (LIBERT)||4,406||2.1%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 51%||John McCain: 47%|
|2004||John Kerry: 46%||George W. Bush: 53%|
|2000||Al Gore: 45%||George W. Bush: 51%|