MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) — Just days before Republicans gather in Milwaukee for the GOP presidential debate, President Joe Biden plans to visit the Cream City as well — setting up dueling events in a pivotal state ahead of the 2024 election.
On Tuesday, Biden will make remarks in Milwaukee to tout his administration’s efforts to grow the economy. It comes on the heels of Vice President Kamala Harris making two stops in southeastern Wisconsin earlier this month.
Biden’s trip is timely because it falls so close to Republicans flocking to the area on Aug. 23 when delegates arrive for the Republican National Committee’s summer meeting, the same day GOP candidates will also take the stage for the primary debate.
All the activity coming to Milwaukee shows how both parties are not taking Wisconsin for granted, as it’s anticipated to play a crucial role once again in carrying a presidential candidate to victory.
“I hope all the folks in Wisconsin can buckle up, because it’s going to be wild ride,” said Jamie Harrison, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “It’s one of those states that’s in the middle of the political universe right now.”
Harrison said Biden’s visit will contrast Republican candidates flocking to the state whose views are “extreme” and “out of touch” for Americans.
“[Republicans] continue to threaten health care for millions. They don’t believe women should be able to control their own bodies and they believe the NRA (National Rifle Association) should have more power than parents do,” said Harrison.
During the debate hosted by Fox News, some questions to participants will be played on a monitor from college students involved with the Young America’s Foundation, a group led by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
It comes as Republicans in Wisconsin are looking to make inroads on college campuses after recent statewide defeats where college-aged students turned out largely for Democratic candidates.
“It’s not only about getting to more young people. It’s about reaching them at younger ages and starting them in the process and finding effective ways on getting that message out,” Walker said.
The big question still lingering over the debate is whether former President Donald Trump will participate. If he doesn’t show, Walker said it could be a missed opportunity some Wisconsin voters won’t forget.
“I think Wisconsin voters, not just in the primary general election swing voters, want to be courted. They want to be paid attention to,” Walker said, referencing how former presidential candidate Hiliary Clinton notability did not campaign in-state during the 2016 general election.
“If [Trump’s] not there to take charge of the situation and other candidates step up, he runs the risk.”
A new poll conducted by YAF found 65% of college students would prefer to see all Republican candidates participate in televised debates. A majority of high school and college students polled also indicated they would like Biden to face a primary challenger.