President Donald Trump will host a rally in the conservative stronghold of Waukesha on Saturday, marking his seventh trip to the state this year.
Trump’s campaign announced Thursday the president will deliver remarks at Stein’s Aircraft Services at the Waukesha County Airport Saturday evening as part of a four-stop tour that also includes events in North Carolina, Ohio and New Hampshire. The announcement comes on the heels of Trump’s rally in Janesville on Saturday.
Recent polls show former Vice President Joe Biden leading Trump statewide by about 5 or 6 points, though that margin differs widely by region. Biden has visited the state twice, with stops in Kenosha and Manitowoc in September.
Trump’s planned visit to Wisconsin comes as the state continues to see surging positive COVID-19 cases. Rallies planned earlier this month in Janesville and Green Bay were canceled after the president tested positive for the coronavirus.
Asked about Trump’s planned visit, Gov. Tony Evers said he strongly encourages the president to require all attendees to wear masks and practice social distancing, practices often not enforced at previous presidential rallies this year. Evers also criticized comments Trump has made that downplay the seriousness of the pandemic.
“I can’t control his political message, even though it’s dead wrong, but I know he has the ability to set parameters for his audience and I would expect him to do that,” Evers said. “Not just hand out masks, not just say, ‘wear them,’ but he should essentially say, ‘if you’re not wearing a mask and you’re not sitting six feet apart, don’t come.’ That should be his message. Do I think that’s going to happen? Absolutely not.”
The state Department of Health Services reported 3,413 new cases Thursday and a total of 180,100 since the pandemic began. The state also reported 22 new deaths, bringing the total to 1,703. The daily average of new cases is now 3,396.
“Trump visiting Wisconsin will only remind voters of his failed leadership and response to COVID-19, which is tearing through Wisconsin,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Tommy Kubitschek said in a statement. “But over 1 million Wisconsinites have already cast their ballots, making it clear that they are ready for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to take the White House and begin building a future that provides working families across the state with the opportunities they deserve.”
Trump’s visit to Waukesha, located in the Milwaukee suburbs known as the WOW counties (Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington), comes as the president tries to appease the suburban voters that strategists believe could play a major role in the November election.
Speaking in Janesville last weekend, Trump described himself as a savior for suburban voters, primarily women.
“Oh, have I saved your suburbs,” Trump said, adding, “They keep telling me about suburban women. I think suburban women like me.”
However, pollsters and strategists have said the WOW counties have been trending less conservative in previous statewide elections.
Trump secured a smaller margin four years ago than Mitt Romney did in 2012, former GOP Gov. Scott Walker secured a smaller margin in his 2018 re-election campaign compared with his 2014 effort, and the margin for all three GOP candidates in Supreme Court races since 2016 has been consistently smaller than the narrow 2011 court race.
Despite the shift, the WOW counties, which Trump won in 2016 with 61%, remain largely Republican.
Combined polls by the Marquette Law School from this year found Biden holding a roughly 5% lead over Trump statewide. However, the suburban Milwaukee counties still showed likely GOP voters up about 56% to Democrats’ 34%.
Editor's note: This story was corrected to state that Joe Biden has visited the state twice during the presidential election.
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