Tammy Baldwin

On paper, Wisconsin appears to be one of the more difficult senate races for Democrats ahead of next year’s election cycle. Joe Biden‘s approval rating is under 50% in the perennial battleground state, creating an opportune landscape for Republicans to swoop in and pick up a seat.

The only problem is, they can’t find anybody to run. Senator Tammy Baldwin, and her strong electoral track record, is scaring potential challengers away.

This week, Rep. Tom Tiffany became the third GOP congressman to withdraw his name from consideration, joining Reps. Mike Gallagher and Bryan Steil. In a statement, Tiffany, who represents a rural district in the northern part of the state, said he thinks he can make the “greatest impact” serving in the House.

In other words, he’s afraid he’ll lose! Tiffany raised only $114,000 in the second quarter of the year, compared to Baldwin’s $3 million.

With mainstream Republicans bowing out, that leaves few options for the GOP… except pugilistic ex-sheriff David Clarke.

The Messenger reports Clarke, who has a long history of making offensive and outlandish statements, is teasing a run–and Democrats are salivating over the thought.

“It would be essentially two Donald Trumps on one ballot,” said former lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes, who unsuccessfully ran for senate in 2022.

Clarke’s resume is filled with inflammatory statements, such as when he was banned from Twitter for telling his followers to make members of the media “TASTE THEIR OWN BLOOD.” In the lead-up to the 2016 election, Clarke declared it was “pitchfork and torches time” in the U.S.

The anti-gay sheriff’s statements about the LGBTQ+ community are just as obscene. He’s said transgender people “suffer from mental disorders” and “live freakish lifestyles,” and called for a “revolt” when the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality.

As Milwaukee sheriff, Clarke committed a litany of atrocities, such as denying a mentally ill person water for seven days.

Suffice to say, Clarke’s background isn’t ideal when it comes to running against a strong incumbent senator. But Republicans may have no other options.

Baldwin, for her part, has won two tough elections, winning her last race by 11 points. The out LGBTQ+ senator has proven to be a force in the Badger State.

One of Baldwin’s more notable legislative accomplishments came last year, when she shepherded the bipartisan “Respect for Marriage Act” through the Senate, garnering 12 Republican votes. The measure codifies same-sex marriage in the U.S.

She has routinely championed progressive causes as a legislator, ranging from single-payer healthcare to gun control. She joined Congress in 1999, and was one of 133 House members who voted against authorizing the Iraq war.

It’s a tough map for Senate Democrats, who have to defend 23 seats next year. The GOP is recruiting strong contenders in other battleground states, such as West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and retired Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy in Montana.

But in Wisconsin, it looks like their best bet may be a loudmouthed ex-sheriff with a defamatory track record. Baldwin might just be too formidable to even try taking down.

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