Thursday, November 09, 2006
Here is a map showing the county by county vote totals for Wisconsin's governor's race. While the re-election of incumbent Jim Doyle (D) was not so much of a surprise, one thing jumped out at me.
The challenger in the race was Congressman Mark Green. His House district is essentially the northeastern corner of the state, centered around Green Bay. For any Republican running statewide in Wisconsin, you begin your campaign knowing that you are going to lose in Milwaukee and Madison (Dane County). The western part of the state (Eau Claire and La Crosse counties especially) have been pretty solidly Democratic over the years but competitive. Where Republicans really make their hay is in the corridor of counties extending north from Milwaukee up to Green Bay. My home county (Fond du Lac) is the second most Republican in the state. The center of Republican votes is Fond du Lac, Winnebago (Oshkosh), Outagamie (Appleton), and Brown (Green Bay).
Because this area also includes Green's congressional district (Brown and Outagamie) you would have expected him to clean up here. In fact, he didn't, and that's what is so interesting. In Brown county, Doyle and Green were essentially tied, and Doyle won small majorities in Outagamie and Winnebago. Why, I'm not so sure yet but this article might get at some of it.
Not only did the high independent turn-out seem to help Doyle, but I'm intrigued by the relationship between the governor's race and the open seat House race to succeed Green. Normally a strong Republican district, the Democratic candidate Steve Kagan managed to pick it up by defeating Wisconsin Assembly Speaker John Gard. Kagan, a largely self-funded candidate (physician) with no elected experience ran on a message of health care and getting out of Iraq. If the war message really resonated, he may have helped Doyle (who also ran ads linking Green to Bush). More to come as I get the Kagen/Gard numbers.
***Note that on the map pictured Red counties voted Democratic, Blue voted Republican--US Election Atlas uses that color scheme
Posted by CBMurray at 11:58 AM