I see no reason to doubt the polls that show a very close race between Tony Evers and Scott Walker for governor, but a healthy lead for incumbent Senator Tammy Baldwin over her challenger, Leah Vukmir.
In the current hyperpartisan environment, why are these two races so different? For one thing, Baldwin and Walker are incumbents, and people in Wisconsin seem to mostly feel things are OK here (55% said the state was “on the right track” in the latest Marquette poll.)
But there’s something else. I think in Wisconsin we like our politicians, well, not too salty. Scott Walker is a bland guy. He famously eats two ham sandwiches in a paper bag for lunch every day, and the thing is, I don’t think that’s an affectation, Walker really is a guy who doesn’t mind eating the same thing for lunch every day. Tony Evers is bland, too, and he fought off seven spicier opponents in a wild primary, winning just about every county in the state. When Tammy Baldwin announced for Senate people thought there was no way a movement liberal and out lesbian from Madison could win a statewide race. She won it easily. Because she is is a movement liberal out lesbian from Madison who in every way comes off as the super-nice mom at the PTA meeting who you go ahead and let make all the decisions because it kind of seems like she’s got this.
Leah Vukmir, by contrast, is a cookie-cutter Fox News Republican who wants to bring a meaner, harder-edged style to Wisconsin politics. I don’t think it’s gonna work. I think Wisconsinites, both Democrats and Republicans, prefer the ham sandwich in the paper bag.