August 8, 2004

KASTEN REDUX:

100% Pure Conservative: Wisconsin’s Bob Welch: Not Watered Down. (John J. Miller, 8/02/04, National Review)

Looking for a dark-horse Republican in this year's Senate elections? Try Bob Welch of Wisconsin, a true-blue conservative running against an unexpectedly weak incumbent, Democratic senator Russ Feingold. If Welch can win the GOP nomination next month, he may yet become the Saxby Chambliss of 2004 — the guy much of official Washington wrote off, who nevertheless went on to a surprise victory in November.

"Feingold is a creature of the left-wing" says Welch, a silver-haired,
46-year-old state senator. "I'm for the free market, he's for socialism."

A Welch-Feingold contest probably would feature the starkest ideological
contrast between two major Senate candidates. This is due in some measure to
Welch, who is in the conservative mainstream, but mostly because of
Feingold's extremism. He is, after all, the single senator who voted against the Patriot Act.

Last April, Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican firm working with Welch,
found that only 46 percent of likely voters believed that Feingold deserved
reelection. This is a very low mark for a guy who has been in the Senate for
two terms, and a classic sign of vulnerability. A more recent survey, the
Badger Poll, put Feingold's reelect number at 52 percent. Yet it questioned
adults generally, not likely voters or even registered voters. In short, it
probably overstated Feingold's strength, such as it is.

"Feingold is on the bubble every time," says Gene Ulm of Public Opinion
Strategies. "He can be beaten by a good candidate."


Reagan carried this seat in with him in '80.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 8, 2004 6:46 PM
Comments

Gore barely won WI in 2000 so it is reasonable to think Bush can pick up this state. A decent GOP senate candidate should therefore be able to defeat Feingold who, except for CFR, doesn't have much to his resume.
On a related note there was a bunch of people calling for Saxby to win in 2002 - Miller was not one of them so therefore it was a surprise.

Posted by: AWW at August 8, 2004 9:12 PM

Mr. Judd;

The starkest ideological contrast? I'd go with Obama vs. Keyes on that point.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at August 9, 2004 2:39 PM
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