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Bookends
Wisconsin lives up to its reputation for polarization.
Come January, a yawning ideological gulf will open up between the two pols serving as Wisconsin senators.

Tammy Baldwin, who topped Tommy Thompson last night, ranked as the 21st most liberal House member 
(out of 435) in a February National Journal ranking, and Republican Ron Johnson, the Oshkosh businessman elected in 2010, placed as the second most conservative senator. Only tea party firebrand Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, rated redder.

Just two years ago, Democrats Russ Feingold -- a favorite among Republicans -- and Herb Kohl -- a low-profile moderate -- held the two seats.

Thompson carried most of northeast Wisconsin last night, including Brown and Outagamie counties, but Baldwin won Winnebago by a slim margin and much of northwestern Wisconsin (which also went for Republican congressman Sean Duffy). She also dominated in southwestern Wisconsin and carried the urban centers of Milwaukee and Madison.

In other Madison news, gay State Rep. Mark Pocan, who won Baldwin's seat, is said to be the first openly gay candidate to succeed an openly gay member of Congress.

(And of course, there's no end to rumors surrounding who's living in the Congressional closet, and who's not.)




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