Wisconsin Democrats face tough road in Senate, governor race

Madison, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Democrats gathered for their annual state convention this weekend are focused on re-electing Gov. Tony Evers and defeating Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, but also know that history is against them in the midterm year and Voters face high inflation, rising gas prices and rising concerns about a recession.

Just how tight the election could be can be clarified with the latest Marquette University Law School poll on Wednesday. This showed Evers slightly ahead of his Republican challengers, while also with every top Democrat that Johnson ran against him.

But the poll also showed that Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats about voting, a key marker in a midterm election when turnout is lower than in a presidential year. Chances improved for Johnson, and worsened for Evers, with the turnout lower than projected in the poll.

“Voting matters in a game of inches in a state that has had so many close elections in recent years,” said Marquette pollster Charles Franklin.

And in a bad sign for those in power, a majority of respondents said they felt the state was headed in the wrong direction.

Evers and the Democrats know the road ahead is tough—the last time a candidate for governor of Wisconsin was the same party as president was back in 1990—but they believe they can overcome the headwinds. can remove.

“Whatever is happening at the national level, Democrats in Wisconsin are united and active,” said Wisconsin Democratic Party President Ben Wikler. Still, the Marquette poll showed that 67% of Republicans were very enthusiastic about voting, compared to 58% for Democrats.

“It makes a real sense that the future of our state and the entire nation is on the line and that voting by the Democrats in 2022 could affect the rest of our lives,” Wickler said.

The Marquette poll showed President Joe Biden’s approval rating at 40%, with 57% disapproval, his lowest mark in Wisconsin since taking office. Evers’ approval rating was better at 48% while 45% declined.

Evers is building his argument for reelection to serve as a roadblock for Republicans who control the legislature, halting their efforts to restrict access to abortion, how elections are run and gun control laws. loosen up. Republicans ignored a special session on Wednesday that Evers called for the repeal of an 1849 law that made abortion illegal, which Roe v. Wade can be effective when reversed.

Republicans argue Evers’ tenure has been unsuccessful, saying he did not react quickly or forcefully to the violent riots in Kenosha in the summer of 2021, he is taking credit for the tax cuts the Republicans wrote and that they have helped the economy. Didn’t do enough.

The Republicans running to counter Evers will meet in the August 9 primaries in less than two months.

Marquette polls showed a tight GOP primary race. Tim Mitchell, the co-owner of a multi-millionaire construction business that won the endorsement of Donald Trump, is in a dead heat with former lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Klefisch, who has been the longest running GOP race. Mitchell was at 27% compared to 26% for the Clayfish, who had been leading the pack before Mitchell came into the race in April.

Business Consultant Kevin Nicholson was at 10% while State Rep. Timothy Ramthun was trailing at 3%. About a third of the respondents, 32%, said they were undecided.

In the Senate race, polls showed Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes at 25% and Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Larry at 21%. State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski was trailing on 9% while Outgame County Executive Tom Nelson was on 7%. Similar to a Republican primary poll, nearly a third of respondents, 36%, said they were undecided.

The polling of 803 registered voters was conducted between June 14 and Monday and had a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points. For questions in the Republican primary, the margin of error was 6.3 percentage points and for the Democratic primary it was 6.2 percentage points.

Evers and the Senate candidate will speak at the convention in La Crosse later this week, as will US Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Attorney General Josh Kaul and other officeholders and candidates.

The Democratic Convention is being held in western Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District, which has an open seat this year due to the retirement of Democratic US Representative Ron Kind. Republicans are targeting that narrowly divided district they can flip.

Three Democrats running in the primary for that seat are scheduled to speak at the convention. The winner will go on to face Trump-backed Derrick Van Orden, who lost to Kind in 2020 and whose revolting appearance at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 has been the focus of criticism by Democrats.

Democrats, unlike Wisconsin Republicans, do not vote on supporting candidates in contesting primaries.

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