Presidential campaigns refocus attention on Wisconsin

Badger State appears to be back in play
Posted at 8:51 AM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-27 19:26:26-04

Wisconsin hasn't been considered much of a battleground state during the presidential election season, but that appears to be shifting in the remaining six weeks.

The Marquette Poll released last week showed Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by two points among decided voters in Wisconsin, well within the margin of error.

Trump is responding to Hillary Clinton's call for Wisconsin voters to get the polls early by saying she's offering failed policies. Early in-person voting began Monday in Madison and Milwaukee, the state's biggest cities and Democratic strongholds both.

Clinton issued a news release urging people to get to the polls. Asked for a response, Trump's Wisconsin campaign director said if Clinton wanted to make a difference she wouldn't offer the same failed and dishonest policies.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence postponed a planned Tuesday Waukesha rally because it's the day before Donald Trump was to be in the same city. Trump's rally in Waukesha is still on for Wednesday.

There will be plenty of other high-profile surrogates in the state this week.

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine's wife, Ann Holton, will be attending early voting events in Kenosha and Milwaukee on Thursday.

And Chelsea Clinton will be campaigning in the state Friday, but her itinerary has not been released.

Hillary Clinton has yet to campaign here since winning the nomination. Wednesday will be Trump's third visit to Wisconsin.

Ohio and Florida remain must-win states for both. Right now most electoral college scenarios have Wisconsin in the "lean blue" category.

Mordecai Lee, a UW-Milwaukee professor and former Democratic state lawmaker, said he expects both campaigns to place a heavy emphasis on Wisconsin during the six weeks leading up to the election.

Lee said he believes Trump needs to prevail in Wisconsin to win the election.

“If he has to win Wisconsin to be President, then (Clinton) has to stop him from winning Wisconsin,” Lee said. “So we’re going to be seeing a lot of them. For Wisconsin, that’s good, because they’ll be talking to us, and with us, about the issues we care about.”

Lee also said Monday night’s debate, which he called combative, likely didn’t do much to sway the roughly 10 percent of Wisconsin voters who are undecided.

“There was a real risk last night that it would it turn people off,” Lee said of the heated exchanges between the two candidates.

“The race is Wisconsin is nearly tied and Donald Trump is going to work hard for every vote," said Pete Meachum, Wisconsin State Director, Donald J. Trump for President.

"Hillary Clinton is phoning it in by sending surrogates to stump for her. Wisconsinites know who fights for them. Hillary Clinton looks out for herself. Donald Trump looks out for the American people," he said.

"Last night, Hillary Clinton demonstrated she is ready and qualified to be Commander-in-Chief while Donald Trump demonstrated he was unprepared and completely unfit to be president," said Clinton spokesperson Gillian Drummond.

"Donald Trump's incoherent answers showed he doesn't have knowledge, values, or temperament to lead our nation," Drummond said.