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Battleground Wisconsin

GOP candidates seeking a Senate seat and the governor's office battle with local Democrats.

12:35 AM, Sep 15, 2010 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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With 49 days until the midterm elections, Wisconsin looks increasingly like it will be among the most intensely contested states – between primaries there Tuesday and the November 2 general election.

Battleground Wisconsin

GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker downs a Krispy Kreme cheeseburger.

Milwaukee county executive Scott Walker easily won the Republican gubernatorial primary Tuesday, defeating former Rep. Mark Neumann, who spent an estimated $3 million-plus on his campaign. Walker was also attacked by the state Democratic Party and his likely Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Barrett is widely regarded as a good guy who hasn’t done much as mayor (and didn’t accomplish much during his time in the House of Representatives before that). Walker is a reform-minded fiscal conservative whose main issues would seem to be a good fit for the current political environment. Recent polling shows that while the race remains close, Walker is leading Barrett.

In the Republican primary for Senate, businessman Ron Johnson easily won his primary to earn the right to challenge incumbent Senator Russ Feingold. Johnson, who has said privately that he’s willing to spend $12-15 million of his own money on the race, is running even with Feingold in polls, despite the fact that he is not well known throughout the state. Feingold’s general election campaign is getting off to a rough start, with a local Madison television station crying foul over an ad Feingold is running – complaining that Feingold is misleading voters into thinking that the broadcast is part of a newscast.

A story on the station’s website reports that the ad “resembles a WKOW newscast more than a political commercial, right down to the graphics and the anchorman.”

“They took out all the context, balance and other side of the story,” said Perry Boxx, WKOW news director. "He did it without any permission. It may be legal, but it's just plain wrong."

In addition to the two major statewide races, Wisconsin has at least two competitive congressional races and control of both houses of the state legislature could flip from Democratic control to Republican.

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