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Top Races in 2016: The Midwest

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker votes in Milwaukee on Election Day 2014. (Darren Hauck/Getty Images File Photo)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker votes in Milwaukee on Election Day 2014. (Darren Hauck/Getty Images File Photo)

This is the fourth in a series of eight regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races for 2016. The Midwest Region covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.  

Wisconsin Senate: Republican Ron Johnson knocked off Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold by 5 points in 2010, but Feingold is back to try to reclaim his seat. Even though Feingold lost re-election, he starts the rematch with a positive image and Republicans have to remind voters about why they fired him or what they should like about him in the years since he was tossed from office. Johnson is laser focused on fixing the economy and hasn’t bothered with some of the niceties of the Senate.  

Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rating: Pure Tossup, but Johnson might be a slight underdog at this stage.  

Ohio Senate: National Democrats got the candidate they wanted to challenge GOP Sen. Rob Portman, but it remains to be seen whether former Gov. Ted Strickland will be successful. Strickland had an underwhelming $1.5 million in the bank on Sept. 30 and has yet to scare young Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld out of the Democratic primary. Meanwhile, Portman’s numbers are soft and he must re-introduce himself to voters with some of the $11 million he had in the bank at the end of September. If the election were held today, Strickland would probably win, but Republicans have time to drive up Strickland’s negatives.  

Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating: Leans Republican.  

Illinois 10th District: A race between Republican Robert Dold against Democrat Brad Schneider is becoming a biennial affair. If Schneider wins the Democratic primary against Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, the two men will face off for the third consecutive election. The last two races were decided by a couple of points or less, and there is no reason to believe this race won’t be close as well. If Democrats can’t win here, it’s going to be a very long night for their party.  

Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating: Pure Tossup.  

What races would you add to the list?  



Top Races in 2016: Mid-Atlantic States

Top Races in 2016: New England

Top Races in 2016: The South

Top Races in 2016: The Plains States

Top Races in 2016: The West

Top Races in 2016: The Southwest

Top Races in 2016: Mountain Region

Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016

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