EDITORIAL: Dave Magnum in 2nd District

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In Wisconsin's 2nd, a change would better reflect region's views.

IN THE RACE for Congress in Wisconsin's 2nd District, it's a rerun. Incumbent Democrat Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Madison is challenged by Republican Dave Magnum of the Portage area.

Baldwin has held the job since 1998, before the Beloit area was included in the district. Her strongest base is in liberal Madison. Prior to her election to Congress, Baldwin held both local and state posts for the Madison community.

Magnum is a business guy, a successful owner of a string of radio stations. He cites his record of building businesses and creating jobs against Baldwin's history as a career politician.

TAMMY BALDWIN is a sharp politician and a hard worker. She has been attentive to local needs in the Beloit area, working to secure funds for various projects, such as the Gateway Business Park. Likewise, she has been a supporter of Beloit's tribal casino initiative, and has stepped up in Washington when proposed legislation threatens the project's viability.

If a congressional representative's job description stopped there, it would be possible to recommend Baldwin's re-election. There's more to the job, though.

We continue to believe there is a very large difference between Madison and Beloit. Baldwin's sharply left-wing views are consistent with Madison's often radical leanings. The Beloit area, however, is considerably less liberal. The community may have a history as a manufacturing city that leans Democratic, but many people are what used to be called “Reagan Democrats” - moderate to liberal on economic issues, conservative on national security and social concerns.

THAT'S WHERE VOTERS will find a big difference between Baldwin and Magnum. The incumbent consistently ranks as one of the most liberal members of Congress, particularly by national security and pro-business measures. Magnum would be a strong representative in those key areas, a voice for keeping America powerful and safe and an advocate of job-creating economic policies.

Magnum, however, is not a lockstep right-wing Republican. He expresses misgivings over the situation in Iraq, for example, and supports stem cell research. On many issues Magnum is a solid moderate, an endangered species in rabidly partisan Washington.

We acknowledge the 2nd's split personality, from radical Madison to moderate Beloit. It isn't easy for any candidate to bridge that ideological divide, and Tammy Baldwin's closer identification with her hometown and political base to the north is understandable.

But Magnum best reflects the values and beliefs of our end of the district. The Daily News endorses Dave Magnum for Congress in Wisconsin's 2nd District.

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