Wisconsin's Lt. Gov.: The GOP has tremendous groundwork advantage

TAMPA, Fla.???The muscle flexed by Gov. Scott Walker in surviving a recall election, the selection of Paul Ryan as the vice presidential nominee, and the popularity of former Gov. and U.S. Senate nominee Tommy Thompson are all reasons that, for the first time in 24 years, Wisconsin will give its 12 electoral votes to the Republican presidential ticket his November.

That???s what the Badger State???s lieutenant governor predicted to Human Events. In an exclusive interview following her remarks to the tea party-backed Unity Rally here Sunday night, Rebecca Kleefisch — who survived a nationally-watched recall election along with ticketmate Walker — said that as a result of that election two months ago, ???we now have a tremendous advantage (over the Democrats) in groundwork in Wisconsin.??? Kleefisch also pointed to a recent CBS News poll showing Republicans with ???a 16 percentage point advantage in enthusiasm??? over Democrats in her state.

Part of this enthusiasm among her fellow Republicans, Kleefisch told us, is Mitt Romney choosing Wisconsin Rep. Ryan as a running mate. She also pointed to the nomination of Thompson — still a beloved figure more than a decade after leaving the governorship — for the open Senate seat as a boost to the Romney-Ryan ticket???s chances in Wisconsin.

???People are excited about Tommy,??? she explained. ???His name evokes memories of some great years in Wisconsin. He was a true reform governor, a leader in welfare reform and school choice. People recall a more prosperous time with Tommy.??? Polls show the 70-year-old Thompson leading liberal Democratic opponent Rep. Tammy Baldwin by margin of 5 to 10 percentage points statewide.

Discussing the unbrokenĀ 24-year history of Wisconsin giving its electoral votes to Democratic presidential nominees, Kleefisch noted that in 2004, ???the margin between George W. Bush and John Kerry was only about 11,000 votes. And that was at a time when Democrats controlled the statehouse. Now, Romney and Obama are squaring off two years after we won just about everything — the governorship, a U.S. Senate seat, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and control of the legislature.???