MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Wisconsin voters will make history Tuesday when they elect a new U.S. senator to replace the retiring Democrat Herb Kohl.
If they choose Democrat Tammy Baldwin, she would become the state’s first female U.S. senator – after she became the state’s first woman to be elected to the House in 1998. Also, Baldwin would be the nation’s first openly gay person to serve in the Senate.
If Tommy Thompson wins, Wisconsin would have two Republican senators for the first time in about 60 years.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Joe McCarthy and Alexander Wiley are the last pair of Republicans to serve the Badger State in the Senate in the 1940’s and 50’s. Also, the 70-year-old Thompson would be the state’s oldest first-time senator.
According to the University of Minnesota, the average of age of Wisconsin’s newly-elected senators is 45 over the course of a century – and a Thompson victory would raise that number to 47. At 50, Baldwin would also be older than the state average.
In addition, it’s very possible that Wisconsin voters will choose a president and a U.S. senator from different parties – something that’s happened only twice in the same election in the last 100 years.
The last time was 1968, when Wisconsin carried Republican President Richard Nixon while re-electing Senate Democrat Gaylord Nelson.