According to the latest gubernatorial ratings from Crystal Ball, a weekly report from the University of Virginia Center for Politics, the Wisconsin race is still rated “Leans Republican.” However, because of Governor Scott Walker’s margin of victory in the last three elections, the race could move to a toss-up in their ratings.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R), unburdened by term limits, is seeking a third term and a fourth statewide victory (he won regular elections in 2010 and 2014 and a recall in 2012). His three elections were very similar — he won between 52%-53% in all of them, and the Democrat won between 46%-47%. With the national dynamic now different, and the White House burden now falling on the GOP side instead of the Democratic one, it’s easy to imagine an even closer race. So like Ohio, this may be a Toss-up before too long. But not yet: There is yet another giant Democratic primary field of questionable strength to sort out. The leading candidates are probably state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, 2012 recall lieutenant governor nominee and state firefighters union head Mahlon Mitchell, and state Rep. Dana Wachs. Liberal Madison Mayor Paul Soglin (D) just entered the race earlier this week.
As Crystal Ball points out, Republicans have a high number of governorships to protect, 26 of the 36 up for election this year, during a mid-term election with a currently unpopular president. The long-term trends would indicate that Republicans will see a net loss on Election Day. It’s just a question of how many and where.
In addition to the public policy implications in each state, the decennial census returns in 2020, and along with it redistricting. Control of Congress could be affected by how many races for governor the GOP loses this November, and which ones.