MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin Republicans are “jazzed” and “fired up” about re-electing President Donald Trump, the GOP leader of the state Senate said Thursday, predicting that the Democratic-led impeachment investigation will only help Trump’s chances in the battleground state.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he believes Democrats are pursuing impeachment because it is the only way they can deny Trump a second term and that they are trying to convince voters to go against Trump to end the “chaos.”
“Wisconsin Trump voters are jazzed up,” Fitzgerald said at the WisPolitics.com event to an audience of Capitol insiders, lobbyists, staffers and others. “I don’t think there’s any two ways of looking at it. They are fired up and they are upset with what’s going on.”
Fitzgerald, who is running for Congress next year in the 5th Congressional District, which includes conservative suburban Milwaukee counties that are vital to Trump’s chances, said Democrats risk “overplaying their hand” by pursuing impeachment and predicted there would be a backlash.
Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 by fewer than 23,000 votes. It, along with Michigan and Pennsylvania, is considered one of the key states in Trump’s re-election bid because of its narrow margin. Three of the past five presidential elections in Wisconsin have been decided by less than one percentage point, and Trump was the first Republican to win since 1984.
A Marquette University Law School poll conducted last week and released on Wednesday showed increasing support for an impeachment inquiry, but no clear majority. The poll showed support for holding impeachment hearings at 46%, with 49% against. Meanwhile, 44% supported impeaching and removing Trump from office, while 51% opposed doing so.
Fitzgerald was an early and vocal supporter of Trump in 2016. He is running as a strong ally of Trump to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner. Democrat Tom Palzewicz is the only other candidate who has announced they are seeking the seat.
Fitzgerald predicted that Trump will perform better in the conservative Milwaukee counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington than he did in 2016, when Trump didn’t fare as well there as Republican Mitt Romney did in 2012. Those counties were the center of the anti-Trump conservative movement then, but Fitzgerald said he believes Trump’s standing had improved with suburban voters there.
Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Ben Wikler discounted Fitzgerald’s assessment, saying Republicans edged away from Trump in Wisconsin in 2016 and that because of his record since then, they are now “running away from Trump at a full sprint.”
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