Evers, Rodriguez begin general election campaign

MADISON, Wis. — Less than 24 hours after she was elected to be his running mate, State Rep. Sara Rodriguez joined Gov. Tony Evers for breakfast as the pair kicked off their general election campaign.

Rodriguez, who represents Assembly District 13, scored a landslide victory over Peng Her in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor Tuesday. She replaced Lt.Gov. Mandela Barnes as Evers’ running mate after Barnes left to run for U.S. Senate against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

RELATED: Rodriguez becomes Evers’ running mate after winning Democratic lieutenant governor primary

Evers and Rodriguez met at Monty’s Blue Plate Diner in Madison as they began to plan for how to defeat challengers Tim Michels and State Sen. Roger Roth. Michels won the Republican gubernatorial primary by a larger-than-expected margin over former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch while Roth comfortably defeated State Sen. Patrick Testin to win the Republican primary for lieutenant governor.

“At the end of the day, we feel very confident that this is going to be a great campaign,” Evers told reporters outside the diner. “We’re gonna win it, and we’re gonna continue the good things we’ve been doing over the past four years.”

The race for governor in Wisconsin has already garnered national attention, with political analysts seeing the state as a key battleground for both Republicans and Democrats. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Michels ahead of Tuesday’s primary, going so far as to campaign with him at an event in Waukesha.

WATCH: Wisconsin is now one of the nation’s most important political battlegrounds

“I don’t think it changes anything,” Evers said. “You think of the positions he [Michels] has taken, those positions…most of the people of Wisconsin disagree with.”

Evers did not shy away from the fact that he’ll be in for a close race. The June 22 Marquette Law School poll indicated that he holds only a 7-point advantage over Michels in the general election, with 8% of those surveyed saying they did not know who’d they vote for when asked to choose between Evers and Michels.

“We’re a purple state, it’s gonna be very close,” Evers said. “At the end of the day, Wisconsinites are going to vote for me and Sara because of the positions that we’ve taken and the success that we have.”

The Wisconsin Republican Party issued a statement following Wednesday morning’s event.

“From proposed tax hikes, cuts to school choice, and soft-on-crime policies, Wisconsinites aren’t interested in Tony Evers and Sara Rodriguez’s malarkey,” Wisconsin RNC Press Secretary Rachel Reisner said.

Evers and Rodriguez will have just three months to get their message out and convince voters to check the box next to their names. The general election is set for Tuesday, November 8.