U.S. SENATOR FOR WISCONSIN
Unlike many of her colleagues who were elected with razor thin margins, Baldwin was elected with the slight advantage of 6 points over her opponent, or 51.4% to 45.9% over GOP candidate Tommy Thompson. Though the win is partially representative of Wisconsin’s history as a swing state or a progressive state, it may also be partially attributed to support from larger areas like Madison, which turned out en masse to help Baldwin get elected.
However, Baldwin’s seat will be potentially vulnerable in the 2018 cycle, due to the state’s swing trends. The state has shifted increasingly to the right in the last two presidential cycles, with President Obama winning in 2012 with 52%, which is a four points lower than his 56% in 2008. While the narrowed margin could be partially attributed to 2012 GOP challenger Mitt Romney, the state also flipped for Trump in 2016, giving him 47.2% to Clinton’s 46.45%. In the same 2016 cycle,, Republican Ron Johnson also won with a four point lead over Democrat Russ Feingold, with 50.2% to 46.8%.
These potential vulnerabilities are additionally exacerbated by expected low turnout during the 2018 cycle. Wisconsin’s turnout in 2016 was at a twenty-year low, with an average of 66% of registered voters casting their ballots. With turnout expected to be even lower in 2018 - following traditional midterm shifts - every vote will count.
Our hope for Baldwin’s seat is to protect Baldwin’s seat, but to also reiterate the need for the Democratic party to focus on swing states like Wisconsin.
Tammy Baldwin was born in Madison, Wisconsin and raised by her grandparents in the Badger State. Her grandfather was a scientist at the University of Wisconsin and her grandmother was a gifted artist and seamstress who became chief costumer of the UW Theater Department.
When Tammy was nine years old, she was diagnosed with a serious childhood illness similar to spinal meningitis. She spent three months in the hospital. Her grandparents had health insurance, but they weren’t allowed to list Tammy as a dependent. Their insurance wouldn’t cover her care. They were forced to make great sacrifices to pay for Tammy’s healthcare. Tammy got better, and her grandparents looked for an insurance policy that would cover her in the future. But they discovered that, because of her previous illness, they couldn’t find such a policy. Not from any insurer. Not at any price. Tammy had been branded with the words “pre-existing condition.” Now, because of the Affordable Care Act, championed by Tammy in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate, children have protections that they didn’t have before and can’t be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
As her grandmother grew older, Tammy served as her grandmother’s primary caregiver – an extremely rewarding, but also challenging responsibility. Growing up in a grandfamily and being a caregiver shaped Tammy’s future in public service, as she led the bipartisan effort to support family caregivers by sponsoring and passing the RAISE Family Caregivers Act in the Senate.
From 1993 to 1999, Baldwin represented her state's 78th District in the Wisconsin State Assembly. While serving in the House (1999-2012), she became known for focusing on energy issues—serving on the House's Committee on Energy and Commerce—and for supporting LGBT rights and universal health care. Baldwin went on to become Wisconsin's first congresswoman, defeating Republican candidate Josephine Musser in the 1998 election for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. She became the first openly gay politician elected to the U.S. Senate, as well as the first Wisconsin woman elected to the Senate, in 2012.
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