CREATED Aug. 15, 2011
PLEASANT PRAIRIE - A poll released Monday shows incumbent Sen. Robert Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie) with a big lead. Republican challenger Jonathan Steitz insists he can win if conservatives show up at the polls.
Wirch is trying to keep the Wisconsin Senate seat he’s held for 15 years.
“We want to send a message to this governor. We want to send a message to the Fitzgerald brothers that moderation is good in this state, extremism is bad,” Wirch told TODAY’S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.
In phone calls, Wirch volunteers reminded people who have voted for the Democrat in the past to do it again.
"We're trying to make sure that people are aware there's still an election and that we need to keep our senator here,” said volunteer Jeanne Sanchez-Bell.
Steitz knocked on doors of known Republican supporters and Kenosha County residents who signed recall petitions against Wirch.
"We're having this election because Bob Wirch left,” Steitz said. “He left this area without a representative. I think it was the wrong thing to do and people are upset about that."
Steitz volunteers got a pep talk in the final campaign hours from Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.
"This is a tough district, but Jonathan Steitz is the man to do it,” Kleefisch said in an interview.
A poll released the day before the election shows Wirch leading by 13 points. The survey from Public Policy Polling shows Wirch with 55%, Steitz with 42% and 3% undecided. The poll’s margin of error is +/-2.9%.
“I have a good feeling, but I'm certainly not taking it for granted,” Wirch said.
"We have 20,000 people who signed that Recall Wirch petition and if we get all those people out to vote tomorrow, we're going to win this race,” Steitz countered.
Both candidates are accusing their opponent of being out of touch with this southeast Wisconsin district.
“His policies are the policies of the past,” said Steitz. “There’s a Kenosha that used to be real blue collar, a lot of manufacturing jobs and that’s not the Kenosha we have anymore.”
“I’m amazed that a guy that works for a Chicago law firm would have the nerve to say I’m out of touch with people in Kenosha,” Wirch said.
Senate District 22 includes Kenosha County and Burlington, which is in Racine County.