Friday, September 29, 2023
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Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin Is Leaning Toward Democrats

MILWAUKEE (CN) — Though they trust state matters to Republicans, Wisconsinites appear set to send Democrats to the U.S. Senate and the Oval Office on Election Day.

That outcome, should it come to pass, would be close to a stunner in a state that is home to GOP Party Chairman Reince Priebus and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Despite handily ousting former Sen. Russ Feingold, a Democrat, in the 2010 elections, incumbent Republican Ron Johnson has steadily lagged in the polls over the past year, with an average disadvantage of 6.8 points.

The race has tightened since the beginning of October, prompting out-of-state Democratic groups to pour money into the race, though Republicans are still far ahead in spending to promote Johnson, according to Politico.

But Feingold, a Harvard Law graduate, has enjoyed a steadily increasing lead in the polls beginning a week or so after a recording surfaced of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump bragging about his taking liberties with women without their permission.

Though Johnson condemned Trump's actions, saying at a debate that he wouldn't "defend the indefensible" act of sexual assault, he was back on the campaign trail for Trump on Nov. 1 after skipping the GOP standard-bearer's events immediately after the recording was released.

Democrat Hillary Clinton also got a bump in the polls when the "Access Hollywood" recording of Trump became common knowledge, with even the billionaire real estate developer's core demographic of non-college-educated whites abandoning him, according to the Marquette University poll.

FBI Director James Comey's revelation last week that his agency is taking another look at Clinton's emails did not seem to have harmed the former secretary of state's standing in Wisconsin polls as of Monday.

However, with Clinton's emails back in the news so close to the election, Feingold's past references to her being "honest and trustworthy" may provide fodder for his GOP rival in the waning days of the campaign.

Feingold clarified his remarks as referring to his personal encounters with her, and though he is sticking by her side since Comey reignited the email issue, he claimed not to know details and emphasized "transparency" when talking to reporters from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

While Wisconsin has a long tradition of voting Republican, it is home to a few Democratic strongholds mainly in its major metropolitan areas.

President Barack Obama won the state twice, in 2008 and 2012, the latter victory coming just two years before Wisconsin voters sent Republican Scott Walker in the statehouse as governor.

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