With the main event today (and guaranteed overtime next week), SSP Labs - a division of Daily Kos Elections - thought it'd weigh in with a look at the six arenas being played in tonight. (Each map shows the results of the Supreme Court race in April).
Rob Cowles' SD-02 spans five counties, with most of the population centered around the Green Bay suburb of De Pere/Ashwaubenon/Allouez, as well as the Fox Valley town of Kaukauna near Appleton. The district is not particularly friendly to Dems, with Barrett having lost by 16 and Feingold by 19, though Obama did squeak out a 6-point win. However, if there is a silver lining, this district did swing quite a bit towards KloJo by 10...though she still lost by 16. Our candidate, Nancy Nusbaum - the former mayor of De Pere and Brown County Exec - has at least represented 42% of the district before, population-wise, and Brown County casts about 45% of the district's votes.
Alberta "anything but" Darling's SD-08 takes in part of Milwaukee County before heading out into the "Circle", which generally has the ability to outpower whatever lean MKE provides in our direction. This district is really quite the study in contrasts but leans Republican generally - both Feingold and Barrett lost here, and Obama only won by truly maxing out the MKE portion. The lack of turnout in MKE in the Supreme Court race really showed itself here, with KloJo losing by 15...and that's after a 14% swing towards her. She won by 14 in MKE, but lost by upwards of 40 (!!) elsewhere. Sandy Pasch - by virtue of being a state Assemblywoman - has represented one-third of the district; she'll really have to juice her margins there to overcome the margins Darling will rack up elsewhere.
Sheila Harsdorf's SD-10 is now the largest in the state population-wise, thanks to high population growth in the second-ring MSP burbs. Most of the vote vote is concentrated there, namely in St. Croix County across the river from Washington County, Minnesota (and from Michele Bachmann's hometown of Stillwater, no less). Obama overperformed here quite a bit, winning by 2% while Feingold and Barrett lost by 17 and 18, respectively. Democratic strength is concentrated in Dunn County (and the city of Menomonie), which simply doesn't have the numbers to balance the more GOP-leaning parts of the district. Alarmingly, this area turned out more for Prosser, where he experienced an 8% bump in his performance. Of all the districts, this one is perhaps the last ripe for takeover - Shelly Moore will have quite the uphill climb here.
Luther Olsen represents this large swath of Central Wisconsin stretching from Baraboo up to Waupaca, also known as SD-14. This district, though not quite as divided as Darling's SD-08, roughly falls into the Democratic-leaning southern third vs. the GOP leaning northern two-thirds. Sauk and Columbia counties form the Democratic core, but unfortunately, only comprise about one-quarter of the district; Team Blue's contender Fred Clark also represents the area in the Assembly. He'll have to really juice his margins here to overcome the nothern parts of the district, which were pretty nasty towards us in both 2010 and the Supreme Court race this year. If there is a silver lining, the heavily-GOP areas became decidedly less so in the second round of the Supreme Court race, swinging the district overall towards us by about 6%. Unsurprisingly, Obama overperformed again, earning a comfortable 5-point margin here.
When Randy Hopper is not busy cavorting with mistresses, he nominally represents SD-18, which covers parts of Winnebago,
"Fond Du Lac", and Dodge counties. This district follows a pattern we've seen generally, with a narrow Obama win (4%) and sizeable Barrett and Feingold losses (16 and 19). As was characteristic of the Fox Valley, the district swung towards KloJo hard (29%, in fact) - suggesting that the energy, on balance, should favor our candidate, Jessica King. Hopper's "personal shortcomings" aside (Alysia Hopper, you are my hero), another reason for optimism stems from King's current position as Deputy Mayor of Oshkosh, which anchors the Winnebago County part of the district (which casts more than half the vote in the district; Oshkosh alone makes up more than one-third.)
Dan Kapanke - who somehow bluffed his way into being a formidable candidate for WI-03 last cycle - represents the anomaly in the bunch, SD-32. The district is quite Democratic down to its roots, being the only one of the six to have gone for Feingold, who eked out a 2-point win. Tom Barrett also only lost narrowly, by less than 1%; Prosser also lost this district both times around. La Crosse County is the (Democratic) powerhouse here, comprising upwards of two-thirds of the district; Kapanke will need to both keep the margins down here and rack up large margins throughout the rest of the district to hold on, which is seeming more and more unlikely. Our candidate, Jennifer Shilling, again, by virtue of being an Assemblywoman, represents one-third of the district; let's also not forget that Steve Doyle picked up AD-94 - another one-third of the district - for Team Blue in May.