Smart Politics is running a series of election profiles of all the Upper Midwestern U.S. Senate and U.S. House races leading up to the November 4th elections. The series will culminate with Smart Politics’ official projections. The twelfth profile in the series is Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District race.
Democrat: Gwendolynne Moore (2-term incumbent)
Independent: Michael D. LaForest
Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District comprises the bulk of Milwaukee County including the cities of Cudahay, Milwaukee, St. Francis, South Milwaukee, West Allis, and West Milwaukee.
In 2004 Moore won her inaugural U.S. House race by 41.4 points to fill the seat vacated by 11-term Democratic congressman Gerald Kleczka. In 2006, Moore won by 42.9 points in this urban, Democratic stronghold. Milwaukee’s 4th District has voted for the Democratic Party in every U.S. House election since 1948, with an average margin of victory of approximately 50 points since 1960. Republicans have carried the district just two times since 1932 (1938 and 1946).
Republicans have failed to even field a candidate in more than one-third of the U.S. races in the 4th District since 1976 (6 of 17), including 2008. The only other name on the ballot this year is Independent candidate Michael D. LaForest.
Some congressional districts are so tilted red or blue that it is no wonder opposition parties face difficulties even in fielding a candidate – like the GOP in the 4th District. A Republican candidate has come within single-digits of beating a Democrat in the 4th District just one time since 1948 (Tom Reynolds, losing by 8.9 points during the Republican Revolution of 1994). The strongest showing by an independent or third party candidate during that span is 13.0 percent (by the Green Party in 2002; no Republicans were on the ballot in that contest).