Milwaukee, WI – Tammy Baldwin could make history next week by becoming the first openly gay member of the US Senate. The Wisconsin Democratic Congresswoman has a strong chance of succeeding in her Senate bid; the final poll before the November 6 election shows Baldwin with a 47 to 43 percent lead among likely voters over Republican former governor Tommy Thompson.
If she is elected, Tammy Baldwin will have faced down some tough obstacles. South Florida Gay News reports how the conservative super PAC American Crossroads injected more than $7 million into opposing Baldwin’s election. That’s the same figure Republican Senate candidate Tommy Thompson’s own campaign has spent attempting to win the seat. American Crossroads was created by former President George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove, a noted opponent of same-sex marriage.
Not that Baldwin’s own campaign has steered clear of negative advertising. The Federal Elections Commission reveals that her election drive has raised $11 million to Thompson’s $7 million, and plenty of that seems to have been spent on discrediting Thompson. On Sunday, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Craig Gilbert described the Baldwin-Thompson race as “one of the most negative US Senate races in recent political history.” He added:
“In a 30-day period ending Friday, 99% of the ads aired on broadcast television were negative, the highest percentage of any Senate contest in the nation, according to data provided by Kantar Media CMAG, which tracks campaign advertising.”
Brutal electioneering aside, Tammy Baldwin remains a narrow favorite to win and set a genuinely historic landmark. The fluctuating polls make the Baldwin-Thompson battle the tightest of the nine Senate races considered close contests, but Baldwin’s new three-point lead has been revealed with only five days to go before Election Day.
In another potentially triumphant moment for the LGBT community, Wisconsin’s openly gay State Representative Mark Pocan is expected to clinch the US House seat left behind by Baldwin in her race for the Senate.