By Drew Olson Special to Published Oct 31, 2006 at 3:20 PM
In a very solid November issue, Esquire Magazine takes a stand on an important political race.

Hundreds of them, actually.

The magazine takes a look at candidates 504 races taking place across the country and makes an endorsement in each. Here is how the editors describe their methods:

"We abstain in no races, because that would be the same as not voting. If a race presents a choice between mediocrities, we will make that choice. With rare exceptions, we do not consider third-party or independent candidates, because with rare exceptions, the country does not consider them. We endorse without regard to the likely outcome in any given race, because we are not pundits. The size of the war chest and the latest poll get no consideration from us whatsoever. In our selections, the slightest modicum of independence is rewarded. We have endorsed very conservative Republicans and very liberal Democrats and everything in between. And you may notice that our lists of the best and worst members of Congress are both dominated by Republicans. That is for the simple reason that in this era, the Republicans have dominated the Congress and thus have put themselves in better position to be very good and very bad. Whether you agree with our choices or not, please treat this as a provocation to vote."

Here is a look at the magazine’s picks for Wisconsin:

Mark Green (R)
Jim Doyle (D)

You know the supposedly small-government Republican candidate is getting desperate when he calls the incumbent Democrat's trimming of state payrolls "downsizing" and says he won't cut jobs himself. Frankly, given Doyle's track record--balancing the state budget, reducing the deficit, forging bipartisan agreement, and earning the support of big business and unions alike -- it's amazing this race is close at all. Wisconsin would be crazy to replace him.

Esquire endorses: Doyle

Robert Gerard Lorge (R)
Herb Kohl (D)

Kohl is the rare politician who doesn't like the sound of his own voice. A shy, earnest man, he seeks the center-left on national issues and economically beneficial legislation at home.

Esquire endorses: Kohl

Congressional District 1

Paul Ryan (R)
Jeff Thomas (D)

One of the leading fiscal conservatives in the House, Ryan was stymied by both parties when he tried to make it illegal to spend money freed by one budget cut on other budgets or earmarks. Typical.

Esquire endorses: Ryan

District 2
Dave Magnum (R)
Tammy Baldwin (D)

A Madison liberal to her core, Baldwin--the first openly gay person to be elected to the House--has made a particular issue of expanding hate-crime legislation to include attacks motivated by the victim's gender, sexual orientation, or disability. But she's primarily known as a consummately skilled negotiator and campaigner.

Esquire endorses: Baldwin

District 3
Paul Nelson (R)
Ron Kind (D)

A moderate in a union district, Kind has managed to balance his free-trade leanings with justifiably angry calls for the terms of U. S. free-trade agreements to be enforced, particularly when signatory nations manipulate their currencies to unfair advantage.

Esquire endorses: Kind

District 4
Perfecto Rivera (R)
Gwen Moore (D)

Incumbent Gwen Moore has done nothing except grandstand to her largely African-American district. Even more disappointing (not to mention suspicious), her son was convicted of slashing the tires of several GOP vans on Election Day in 2004. Her constituents are underrepresented enough; they need someone of action, not empty words.

Esquire endorses: Rivera
District 5

Jim Sensenbrenner (R)
Bryan Kennedy (D)

A stickler on legal and ethical issues, particularly with regard to civil rights, Sensenbrenner has been a huge thorn in the side of the Bush administration over domestic surveillance.

Esquire endorses: Sensenbrenner

District 6
Tom Petri (R)
John Curry (D)

Moderate to the point that he was passed over for a junior but more obedient Republican for Education and Workforce chairman in 2000, Petri didn't learn his lesson: he's still independent minded.

Esquire endorses: Petri

District 7
Nick Reid (R)
Dave Obey (D)

First elected in 1969, Dave Obey has parlayed his Keynesian economic outlook and rootsy, little-guy-first progressive liberalism into one of the longest careers of any current representative. He'll extend it in November, and deserves to.

Esquire endorses: Obey

District 8
John Gard (R)
Steve Kagen (D)

Incumbent Republican Mark Green is running for governor. His seat will be viciously contested, and the fact that it's a marginal Republican district may deliver it to moderate Democrat Steve Kagen. It should.

Esquire endorses: Kagen
Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.