Wisconsin's party chairs on 2024 US Senate candidates

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler and Republican Party of Wisconsin Chair Brian Schimming discuss the race between incumbent U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Republican challengers in 2024.

By Steven Potter | Here & Now

January 9, 2024

FacebookRedditGoogle ClassroomEmail

Steven Potter:
There's the presidential election, there's also the Senate election. Tammy Baldwin is running for re-election. What are your expectations? What do you think is gonna happen in that race and who's her opponent gonna be?

Ben Wikler:
Tammy Baldwin is a dynamite senator. I'm so proud that we have elected her and re-elected her here in the Badger State and she's someone that Wisconsinites across our state know is fighting for them. You can go, even to conservative and Republican areas and people will say, "I have my job "because Tammy Baldwin fought for Buy America policies." "My dairy farm is still operating "because Tammy Baldwin has pioneered so many different bills "and pieces of legislation "to support the Wisconsin dairy industry." People know that they have their freedom. She is the leader of the Respect for Marriage Act, which codified into law whatever the Supreme Court might have been plotting, that you can marry the person that you love across lines of race, regardless of their gender. That is fundamental to the Wisconsin idea of freedom. We are the first state to have LGBTQ protections in state law and she's somebody who believes in the freedom to make your own reproductive decisions. She's the lead author of the Women's Health Protection Act in the U.S. Senate that would put the protections of Roe versus Wade back into law. Now, as we go into 2024, we're expecting an ultra-MAGA far right opponent, and Eric Hovde has been already floated as somebody who's planning to run, who's gonna put tens of millions of dollars of his own money into the race. He'll move to Wisconsin from his $7 million mansion in California, so that he can run for this Senate seat. And we have to expect that he'll flood the airways with propaganda to try to make himself seem like a normal Wisconsin business guy. And I think what we've gotta do is make sure people know that he wanted to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. He wanted to remove the provision that people under 26 could be on their parents' health insurance, a bill Tammy Baldwin wrote that he wants to get rid of, that he has supported abortion bans, that he has supported cutting Social Security. He has positions that align him with the kind of far right MAGA movement, but that aren't in step with what Wisconsin voters want. The more people know about Tammy Baldwin's record, her values, her life story, and the more they know about Eric Hovde or whoever else from the MAGA wing of the GOP runs against her, the better off we're gonna be in a Senate race that could decide the majority of the U.S. Senate in 2024.

Steven Potter:
Tammy Baldwin, seeking reelection, who's gonna be your candidate there?

Brian Schimming:
Well, we have a couple candidates now, as you know. I think we'll see some new entrants, at least one, as we go into the new year. We're gonna have a good campaign there, number one. Number two, you know, I remind people, I've been around long enough now, I remind people that, you know, when they say, "Oh, gee, "is Tammy Baldwin, is that gonna be a hard race?" I always say, "Has anyone seen U.S. Senator Russ Feingold "around lately?" Because I was around for that campaign. And Russ Feingold was, from a polling perspective, in better shape in that race than Tammy Baldwin is right now. And he lost that race by 100,000 votes and then six years later, he lost it by 100,000 votes again. And then last year, Ron Johnson got reelected in this state. So we know we can win these races, that's not a question. The other issue I think for Tammy Baldwin is she now has 12 years of votes and she's a 95% vote with Joe Biden in a state where Joe Biden's not doing very well right now. So I think as people find more out more about Tammy Baldwin's record and we're able to contrast any of our Republican gain, I'll take any of ours over Tammy Baldwin. And, obviously, to your point earlier, there's gonna be a lot of national attention on Senate races generally, and I think Wisconsin will be in that mix. I think people are gonna be surprised.

Statement to the Communities We Serve

There is no place for racism in our society. We must work together as a community to ensure we no longer teach, or tolerate it.  Read the full statement.