Parties compete for turnout in ‘purple’ counties

Governor candidates doing everything they can to appeal to voters
Parties compete for turnout in ‘purple’ counties
Mary Burke and Scott Walker

In the season of changing colors, campaigns are out on the ground, trying to take so-called “purple” counties in the state, and turn them red or blue.

Sauk, Columbia and Richland counties all supported Gov. Scott Walker for election in 2010, and supported President Barack Obama in 2012.

“I don’t think we’re seeing a different set of people,” said Judy Spring, chair of the Sauk County Democratic Party.  “I think we’re seeing folks who are sometimes leaning Republican and sometimes vote leaning Democratic.”

On Highway 33 in Reedsburg, the Democratic and Republican offices fall just more than a block apart.  Volunteers inside are in the midst of great efforts to turn out voters on Nov. 4th.

Spring said voters have been coming into their offices willing to switch sides.

“We see a lot of people who voted for Walker in the previous election and they come to us with a sense of embarrassment mostly because they feel betrayed,” said Spring.

Spring said they’ve been hitting as many doors and making as many calls as they can trying to ensure that outcome.

But down the street, enthusiasm is high at the Republican Party offices, where volunteers believe they can ensure a repeat outcome for Walker.

“I’ve seen way more of us out there hitting up doors and making sure that our voters have what they need to know,” said volunteer Tia Field.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, was firing up volunteers in Madison Friday, and said he thought some voters may regret their votes for Obama and lean back to the GOP.

“I think President Obama was a historic figure, I think electing the first African-American president  that all of America celebrated that,” said Johnson.  “Now try and get the past behind us.  Unfortunately President Obama has not been that great unifier.”

Those on the ground still have miles to go, though, before the day when independent Sauk County voters will make up their mind.

The outcome may also be a question of how many people turn out at the polls in November.  In Sauk County, turnout was 22,166, it was 26,649 in the recall election and 31,927 in the 2012 presidential election.