Feb. 13, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Tea Party Summers in Wisconsin

“If you watch Wisconsin TV or listen to the radio, it’s impossible not to feel beaten down just from the amount of money and amount of pressure [liberal groups] are bringing to this,” he added.

But it’s uncertain whether the last-minute rallies will do anything to change that, especially since labor unions have been organizing in Wisconsin for months.

“No one in Wisconsin cares about a giant tea party bus,” said Kelly Steele, spokesman for the We Are Wisconsin PAC. “Outside tea party flashiness won’t make a damn bit of difference in the end.”

Labor unions are wrapping up a
monthlong bus tour of their own. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO’s “Truth Tour” included phone banking and canvassing, which Phil Neuenfeldt, the union’s state president, said tea party groups are “hard-pressed to counter.”

Even tea party activists appear overwhelmed by the liberal effort. Dick Koltz, founder of Northeast Wisconsin Patriots, a tea party group near Green Bay, said some of his group’s 300 members have helped with phone drives for conservatives. But Koltz said their efforts are “dwarfed” by those on the left.

“They have a well-organized group,” Koltz said. “I think [rallies] will inspire people, but not a lot. ... We want to hopefully get information out. It’s just sickening how many [pro-Democrat] commercials are out there.”

Still, some conservatives remain optimistic about next week’s elections.

Matt Seaholm, who directs Americans for Prosperity’s Wisconsin efforts, said the strong liberal front might actually motivate conservatives.

“The message from the left probably lights a fire in many conservatives,” he said. “There is certainly still a strong intensity among conservative voters.”

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