Bernie Sanders Barnstorms Wisconsin
Democrat Socialist campaigns for state Dems in four college towns: Eau Claire, La Crosse, Madison and Oshkosh.
Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is among the national figures stumping for Wisconsin Democrats as candidates from both parties make their final push to voters ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Sanders, the former presidential candidate, scheduled stops in Eau Claire, La Crosse and Madison Friday before heading to Oshkosh Saturday. Each city is home to a University of Wisconsin campus.
During the last race for governor in 2018, Wisconsin saw record high voter turnout for a midterm election, with nearly 60 percent of the estimated voting age-population participating. The margin of victory in that election four years ago was razor-thin; Evers beat then-Republican Gov. Scott Walker by roughly 1 percentage point.
Polling suggests statewide races could once again be close this year. And, in the final days of campaigning, both sides are turning their focus to getting out the vote, said Republican strategist Mike Graul.
“There’s not a lot of persuading going on anymore,” Graul said. “I think most people made up their mind one way or another. And now the question is whether or not they’re going to vote.”
While Sanders, an independent who describes himself as a democratic socialist, could be an alienating figure to some moderates, his presence in Wisconsin has the potential to motivate younger voters, said Anthony Chergosky, an assistant political science professor at the UW-La Crosse.
“Young voters are generally tough to mobilize, but that becomes especially the case when there’s not a presidential election on the ticket,” Chergosky said.
Barnes, who’s trying to make the leap from being Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor to representing the state in the U.S. Senate, had a packed schedule Friday with multiple stops in the Democratic strongholds of Madison and Milwaukee.
UW-Madison student Samantha Stidham was among the people packed into a Madison restaurant midday Friday to hear Barnes speak. And Stidham planned to join her roommates later that night to see Sanders at Madison’s Orpheum Theater.
Sidham, who describes herself as a “really big fan of Sanders,” says she’s worried about Tuesday’s election.
“Democrats need to get a win here,” she said. “Those big names get people out to events like this … It gets people excited about, you know, door knocking or canvassing or just going to vote.”
Sen. Baldwin and other Democrats are going around Madison, Wisconsin today to get out the vote and stump for Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes as he tries to unseat Republican US Sen. Ron Johnson. pic.twitter.com/I7Ig9Y1hfB
— Gaby Vinick (@GabyVinick) November 4, 2022
Candidates, surrogates crisscross Wisconsin as Election Day nears
And former Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, a Wisconsin native, has been traveling the state helping the GOP make its case.
At a stop in Green Bay Friday morning, Preibus joined Michels and Johnson in painting Democratic candidates as extreme, accusing them of exacerbating inflation and failing to stop crime. Priebus referenced historic spending on Wisconsin’s upcoming midterms, saying that all that money is going to “influence 50,000 people in the middle.”
Those people in the middle, Preibus said, are “the people that we need to convince between now and Tuesday that we can’t allow a radical like Mandela Barnes to be sent to Washington DC.”
“I’ve had the opportunity to veto many bills that would have made it more difficult for people to vote, whether it was issues around people of color, people with physical disabilities,” Evers said.
“Good lord,” Evers continued. “Those are the things that I vetoed. Can you imagine what’s going to happen going forward if Tim Michels wins?”
Democratic strategist Joe Zepecki believes the U.S. Supreme Court‘s overturning of a national right to abortion is energizing voters, and said he’s paying attention to whether the share of women in the electorate increases with more women registering and turning out to vote.
It’s no surprise, he said, that national figures have been heading to Wisconsin. That includes not only the recent visits from Obama and Sanders, but also stops earlier this fall by high-profile Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Zepecki said.
“It’s clear that Wisconsin is once again sort of ground zero for our politics nationally,” he said. “We know that Wisconsin is one of the most polarized states in the country. We were polarized before it was cool.”
Bernie Sanders stumps for Democrats in Wisconsin as both sides make final get-out-the-vote push was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
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