Wisconsin Eighth Congressional District: From Swing Seat to Solidly Republican?



Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional district is a battleground area within a battleground state. In the past, the district has been very competitive, rotating between Democratic and Republican representatives every few election cycles. In recent years, the district has leaned Republican, though it is still usually seen as “up for grabs” by both major political parties. Thus, Congressional elections in the district are typically characterized by high levels of campaign spending and advertising. The 2016 election in Wisconsin’s 8th District attracted a great deal of attention due to the fact that the incumbent opted not to run for reelection. This open-seat election involved two major party candidates—Tom Nelson, the Democratic candidate, and Mike Gallagher, the Republican. Although many people predicted that it would be a close election, Gallagher ended up winning 63% of the vote to Nelson’s 37%, a 26-point margin of victory.


Campaign Spending Open Seat Elections Republican Leanings Congressional Elections Battleground States 
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  1. Ballotpedia. 2016. Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District. Ballotpedia: The Encyclopedia of American Politics.
  2. Cloud, Robert. 2016. 8th District candidates present opposing plans. Social Security focus of race. Waupaca County News.
  3. LaCombe, Andrew. 2016. Democratic committee plans 745 k in TV ads for 8th district race. Fox 11 News.
  4. Mike Gallagher for Wisconsin. 2016. Social Security. Mike Gallagher for Congress.
  5. Rodewald, Adam. 2016. Reid Ribble Endorses Gallagher for Congress. Green Bay Press Gazette.
  6. Stein, Jason. 2016. Democratic group pulls week of ads for Nelson. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  7. The Center for Responsive Politics. 2016. Wisconsin District 08 Race. Center for Responsive Politics.
  8. Door County Pulse. 2016. 8th Congressional District Candidates: Mike Gallagher & Tom Nelson. Peninsula Pulse.
  9. Wagness, Billy. 2016. Nelson, Gallagher tackle issues facing 8th Congressional District in Debate.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin-Green BayGreen BayUSA

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