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US Senate 2012 Election in Wisconsin

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US Senate 2012 Election in Wisconsin
This article presents facts, analysis, and predictions for Wisconsin's 2012 U.S. Senate election race.

See 2012 Senate Elections - Who's Winning, Who's Losing for an overview of all 33 US Senate races, on a state-by-state basis.

The Incumbent US Senator
Sen. Herb Kohl, a Democrat, is completing his sixth term as U.S. senator from Wisconsin. Since 1985, Sen. Kohl has owned the NBA basketball team Milwaukee Bucks.

In the 112th Congress, Sen. Kohl chairs the Senate Special Committee on Aging. He is a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations; Judiciary; and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committees.

Sen. Herb Kohl is not running for reelection in November 2012.

Wisconsin's 2012 Senate Race
Two Democratic and four Republican candidates will compete in Wisconsin's senatorial primary elections, set for August 14, 2012.

Seven-term Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is widely expected to win the Democratic nomination. Rep. Baldwin was the first openly gay non-incumbent elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and has been a leading House voice on women's issues.

The four Republicans vying for in the primary are:

  • Tommy Thompson, Wisconsin governor from 1987 to 2001, and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary under the George W. Bush administration
  • Jeff Fitzgerald, Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker, Assembly member since 2000, and brother of the Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader in 2011-2012
  • Mark Neumann, former two-term U.S. House of Representatives member
  • Eric Hovde, wealthy businessman and real estate developer
Who Will Win?
RealClearPolitics.com rates Wisconsin's 2012 U.S. Senate race as a "Toss-up" as of May 2012.

Recent Election Results
Wisconsin's two U.S. senators serving in the 112th Congress (2011 to 2012) are:

  • Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl, retiring after completing four terms
  • Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, serving his first term
Wisconsin's controversial Republican Gov. Scott Walker has been petitioned for a recall election, which is set for June 2012. Lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is also a Republican party member. In the Badger State's eight-member U.S. House of Representatives delegation, five are Republicans, three are Democrats.

In the last four presidential elections, Wisconsin voted as follows:

  • 2008 - 56% for Democrat Obama, 42% for Republican McCain
  • 2004 - 49% for Democrat Kerry, 45% for Republican Bush
  • 2000 - 48% for Democrat Gore, 48% for Republican Bush
  • 1996 - 49% for Democrat Clinton, 39% for Republican Dole, 12% for Other
Wisconsin Economic Facts and Voter Demographics
Unemployment Rate as of June 2011 - Wisconsin's unemployment rate fell below the national average during 2011, and was 7.6% in June 2011, which ranked 31st among all states.

Foreclosure Rates as of June 2011 - Wisconsin;s home foreclosure rate of 1 in every 818 homes in June 2011 ranked 20th among all states.

State Residents Living Below Poverty-Level Income - 10.4% of Wisconsin residents live on below poverty-line income, which ranks 38th among all states.

Labor Union Membership - Wisconsin is home to 422,000 labor union members, representing 16.0% of all workers in the state and the 12th highest state population of labor union members.

Senior Citizen Population - 13.7% of Wisconsin residents are 65 years old and over, which ranks 22nd among all states.

Women as a Percentage of State Population - Women comprise 50.4% of Wisconsin's population, which ranks 33rd among all states.

Hispanic Population - 5.9% of Wisconsin residents are of Hispanic heritage, which ranks 30th among all states.

African-American Population - 6% of Wisconsin residents are African-Americans, which ranks 27th among all states.

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