Presidential campaigns bus through WisconsinBoth Presidential campaigns have surrogates traveling the country reaching out to supporters and volunteers. The tours often stop in smaller communities where the main candidates are unlikely to make personal appearances.
By: By Patty Murray/Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Both Presidential campaigns have surrogates traveling the country reaching out to supporters and volunteers. The tours often stop in smaller communities where the main candidates are unlikely to make personal appearances. Mitt Romney’s bus and Barack Obama’s RV were in Northeastern Wisconsin Tuesday. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has been traveling with Mitt Romney’s campaign making stops in Kimberly and Wausau.
The big name on President Barack Obama’s RV was actor Kurtwood Smith, a Wisconsin native known for movies like Robocop and TV’s “That 70’s Show,” which was set in Wisconsin. At an appearance in Green Bay, Smith shared his concerns about healthcare access and Medicare reform.
The Obama RV stopped in Superior Thursday for a senior roundtable at Red Mug Coffeehouse. Former Congressman Dave Obey of Wausau and Pat Kreitlow of Chippewa Falls, who is running for the 7th Congressional District seat currently held by Sean Duffy, R-Weston, met with a handful of seniors to discuss issues concerning them, including healthcare. The RV was expected to stop at Rice Lake, Amery and Eau Claire Thursday. The RV, which began its tour in Minnesota last week, will then move on to Iowa on Sunday, according to Amanda Sherman with Organizing for America-Wisconsin.
The Obama campaign’s state director is Tripp Welde who says the use of smaller “whistle stop” style rallies brings national campaigns to the local level. Welde adds, “Everybody knows that the Milwaukee, Madison areas are more Democratic and some of the other areas of the state are a little bit more red. But for us it’s important to have visibility and to get to as many communities as we can.”
A St. Norbert College Political Scientist says the road-trips are similar to so-called “micro campaigning” tactics. That is when candidates use social media to reach voters. Wendy Scattergood says the stops energize the faithful and are attractive to ‘fence sitters,’ “Especially if it’s convenient for them, and that’s really the key here. Do you want to go to a rally where there’s several thousand people there and it’s kind of a pain to get there and go? But these smaller ones really are pretty easy to get to.”
The Obama tour continues through Wednesday with several stops in northern and western Wisconsin. Romney’s bus has made many stops in Wisconsin throughout August.
Telegram writer Maria Lockwood contributed to this story.