Wednesday, September 18, 2019

‘He’s not going to have Hillary Clinton sitting on her hands’: Trump’s uphill battle to hold Wisconsin

Pro-Trump campaign buttons. Wisconsin's Republican suburban voters will likely to determine the president’s fate in the state. | (AP Photo/Sara Burnett)

They hate Donald Trump’s tweets. They worry about his temperament. They’re still uncomfortable with the name-calling.
But many voters in Milwaukee’s Republican suburbs like his court appointments. And they approve of his stewardship of the economy.
How those suburban voters square those feelings is likely to determine the president’s fate in Wisconsin, according to interviews with more than two dozen organizers, operatives, and party leaders from both sides in a state that proved crucial to Trump’s upset victory in 2016.
Few expect the three key counties that surround the state’s largest city to vote Democratic next year. But they say the level of enthusiasm for Trump in Wisconsin’s so-called WOW counties — Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington — matters a great deal in a state where three of the last five presidential elections were decided by less than one percent.
In the state’s political equation, they serve as a conservative counterweight to the big Democratic margins traditionally delivered by Milwaukee and Madison. Unless that suburban GOP engine delivers it’s own blowout win for Trump next year, it will be difficult for him to capture the state a second time.
“For the president to win Wisconsin again, he’s not going to have the free ride he had last time. He’s not going to have Hillary Clinton sitting on her hands,” said Brandon Scholz, former executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party. “He’s going to have a completely engaged opposition party on the ground.”

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