MADISON, Wis. (AP)—From an appearance by President Barack Obama on Monday morning to one by Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan at night, Wisconsin was in the campaign crosshairs in final 24 hours before Election Day.
Thousands of people crowded around the state Capitol despite temperatures in the 20s for their last chance to see Obama before Tuesday’s election. Obama’s morning rally, with rocker Bruce Springsteen in tow, was his third in Wisconsin in the final five days of the race.
Ryan was returning home for a night rally at the Milwaukee airport after a day of campaigning in other battleground states. Ryan has been a frequent visitor to Wisconsin since getting added to Mitt Romney’s ticket in August, but Romney’s stop near Milwaukee on Friday was his first trip to the state since he picked his running mate.
A number of Romney surrogates, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, were campaigning for him in Wisconsin on Monday.
The candidates for Wisconsin’s open U.S. Senate seat were also making a last push. The race is the most expensive for a Senate seat in state history, with spending exceeding $65 million and climbing, and it’s been marked by a barrage of negative ads branding Democrat Tammy Baldwin as a screaming, extremist liberal and Republican Tommy Thompson as an uncaring millionaire who abandoned his Wisconsin roots.
Baldwin was trying to bask in Obama’s shadow, appearing at the president’s rallies Thursday in Green Bay, Saturday in Milwaukee and on Monday in Madison. Thompson was with Romney on Friday. Both Thompson and Baldwin had numerous last-day campaign events in swing parts of the state including Green Bay and Wausau.
Baldwin, 50, gave up her safe congressional seat to run for the Senate after Democratic incumbent Sen. Herb Kohl announced his retirement. Baldwin is vying to become Wisconsin’s first woman senator and the first openly gay candidate elected to the Senate. Thompson, 70, is trying for a political comeback after serving as governor for 14 years. Briefly a candidate for president in 2007, and U.S. health secretary for four years, Thompson hasn’t been on the ballot in Wisconsin since 1998.
The most recent Marquette University Law School poll released last week showed Obama up by eight in Wisconsin and Baldwin by four, with a 2.8 percentage point margin of error.