GREEN BAY - As we enter the stretch run for the presidential race, neither President Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney has stopped in Northeast Wisconsin. But our area has still seen a number of major campaign appearances, particularly in the last month.
On Sept. 28, first lady Michelle Obama was in Appleton at Lawrence University. Last Friday, former President Bill Clinton campaigned at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and this Friday Vice President Joe Biden is set to speak at UW-Oshkosh.
It has been six weeks since the last major Republican appearance in Northeast Wisconsin. On Sept. 12, Vice Presidential candidate and Janesville native Paul Ryan spoke at the Cornerstone Community Ice Center in Ashwaubenon.
"I'm not surprised Obama is here, but I am kind of surprised that Romney and their campaign hasn't spent more time here," said St. Norbert College political science professor Wendy Scattergood. "Whether they think it's everyone already knows who Paul Ryan is so we don't have to worry about it, I don't know."
Romney's Wisconsin communications director, Ben Sparks, says the appearance difference says more about Obama.
"It shows that Obama has a clear Wisconsin problem," said Sparks.
Sparks says that statement can also explain why Obama is outspending Romney in Northeast Wisconsin television ads.
In October-specific buys, Obama has spent nearly $1.3 million compared to Romney's $786,403.
"When you look at the full battleground map, there are some states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia that the Romney campaign has been struggling in and they need to be devoting time and effort there," said Joe Zepecki, the Wisconsin communications director for Obama's campaign. "Wisconsin is just clearly not on their radar at this point."
The Romney campaign says Wisconsin can expect to see Romney and Ryan before Election Day. However, they wouldn't say whether their appearances would specifically be in our area.
It is also unclear if President Obama himself will appear in the area before Election Day.
In 2008, Obama took most of Northeast Wisconsin compared to his challenger John McCain. In 2004, most of Northeast Wisconsin supported incumbent Republican President George W. Bush.
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