NORTHEAST WISCONSIN – When voters head to the polls in eight months, there may be some races without competition.
Two Republicans who represent Northeast Wisconsin in Congress currently do not have opponents. They are Tom Petri and Reid Ribble.
Petri has been in office for 35 years, while Ribble has only been in Congress for three years.
Charley Jacobs, a political science professor at St. Norbert College, is not surprised no Democrats have registered to take on Ribble, a two-term Republican.
“I think a rational candidate would say this is not the year to run,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs says it doesn’t matter who Ribble faces. He believes it’s not a winnable seat for Democrats.
“This has been a conservative district, but it has been a swing district, but just mapping out the last couple of election cycles, Ribble has a very, very comfortable position,” he said.
Ribble was elected to Congress in 2010. He received 55 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent Democrat Steve Kagen.
In 2012, Ribble had 56 percent of the vote, beating Democrat Jamie Wall.
Mark Becker, the chair of the Brown County Republican Party, says he’s surprised no new challengers have stepped forward.
“I think that’s a testament to the job that he’s doing,” said Becker.
FOX 11 asked Mary Ginnebaugh, the chair of the Brown County Democrats, if she knows of anyone who is considering running. She says she doesn’t, but she points out, the deadline to file to run is not until June 2.
“I think there’s time for somebody who is genuinely interested in this seat to be able to file and be competitive in this race,” said Ginnebaugh.
History is also on Congressman Ribble’s side. FOX 11 did a fact check to look at incumbent re-election rates in the House.
In 2012, 90 percent of incumbents kept their seats. Overall, since 1964, the re-election rate is 93 percent.
Incumbents also usually have a sizeable advantage in campaign fund raising.