Wisconsin’s eighth district race stood out on that list of vulnerable rural or red state Democratic House members stood out to me, so I asked Kevin, my Wisconsin politics guy about that district:
The thinking is [Democatic Congressman Steve] Kagen would be hurt bad by Hillary; mostly because she hurts him on his marquee issue: health care. The GOP to Democrat ratio in that District is probably around 60 to 55% GOP-leaning. It’s more socially conservative than the rest of the state. VERY Catholic. It’s long been thought that Kagen is in only because of the war and a botched defense of the seat by the crew in DC at the NRCC. John Gard was a good candidate, but he had baggage from being State Assembly Speaker. I think the idea being floated of a primary is dying since his likely opponent, Rep. Frank Lasee, is known for grandstanding and is slowly imploding. Kagen’s win came from his home base in Appleton; which is gradually becoming more liberal. Bush barely won the city in ‘04 if I recall. Gard won the rural vote, but I think a Hillary candidacy would help him more so.
I would also note that Kagen ran afoul for his comments at the White House, prompting him to apologize to constituents, and the Food and Drug Administration charges he is violating federal law because his allergy practice is allegedly manufacturing and selling allergy shots without a valid license.
Some lefty bloggers have wondered about the Hillary effect in this district.