Politics / POLITICS
Can The Most Liberal Congresswoman Win A Senate Seat?
"Just the fact that she is a Dane County person in a primary makes her very strong," said Wisconsin Democratic strategist Evan Zeppos. "Secondly, the fact that she's got very strong name ID in the south central part of the state, I think is very good for her." Baldwin is one of the few openly gay Members of Congress and after being elected in 1998, became the first openly gay woman to serve in Congress. But in a state with culturally conservative elements, Baldwin's sexuality could become an issue in a general election. "The real question is going to become whether on a statewide basis, the electorate of Wisconsin is willing to accept someone whose got an incredibly good progressive record, but chooses to live a different lifestyle," said Zeppos. Another important factor for Baldwin will be what the rest of the field looks like. If another candidate from vote-rich Dane County -- or one who is popular there -- enters the race, it could spell trouble for her. Feingold, who is also a possible candidate, is very popular in Dane County. Rep. Ron Kind (D), meanwhile is also considering a Senate run. He would be strong in the western and northern parts of the state. "Outside Dane County, the more crowded it is, the better off she is," Zeppos said. Strateigsts also note that Milwaukee, a population center, will also be key. If the race does not feature a candidate from Milwaukee - and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) has said he is not running - it's very much in play for Baldwin and other Democrats.
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