U.S. Senate race heats up in Northeast WI

Posted at 9:32 PM, Mar 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-20 22:33:55-04
The Democratic candidate for a Wisconsin U.S. Senate seat, Russ Feingold, is campaigning this weekend in Northeast Wisconsin.
He announced last may his plans to run against incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson, who is also spending the weekend in the Green Bay area on the campaign trail.
They're in the midst of a race that's gaining big national attention, and millions of dollars in outside spending, before November's elections.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon in Fond du Lac, dozens of Wisconsin voters are eager to share their concerns with the democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.
"There's a lot of interest, so it brings a lot of people out," says Tom Kitchen, before Feingold begins speaking. He lists some of the issues he's hoping to hear the candidate address, including "taking care of people's needs who are on Medicare, and social security, and education."
Another voter, Terrence Gaffney, says he's fighting for affordable health care as he and a close friend both battle cancer.
"If we didn't have the Affordable Care Act, he'd be dead because he never would've been able to afford any of the treatments that are required," says Gaffney, as he waits to speak with Feingold. "Mine, just for this Optune," he adds, pointing to a small suitcase-sized apparatus being he's holding, "is $21,000 a month."
For Feingold, a major focus for his campaign so far has been job growth, and boosting the state's middle class.
"In our state, we've lost 75,000 manufacturing jobs since NAFTA," says Feingold, adding that his disapproval of the free trade deal during his time in the U.S. Senate in the 90's mirrors his feelings toward the current Trans Pacific Partnership, "even if you have a job, it's very hard to make ends meet. And they point to the fact that there's this economic recovery for those at the top, and it hasn't really helped a lot of people." 
Republican incumbent Senator Ron Johnson is also working hard to connect with that same demographic, but through different means than his competition.
Both men have been touring all 72 counties to connect with middle-class voters, and Sen. Johnson is doing that through the message of helping the private sector economy in creating jobs.

Johnson was in Door County this weekend, speaking with voters at a small business in Sturgeon Bay.

In an official statement, Sen. Johnson's campaign spokespeople say:
"As a manufacturer, Ron Johnson knows what it takes to get Washington out of the way and help our private sector economy create good jobs and economic opportunity for all. That's why he supports getting government spending under control, enacting pro-growth tax reform, and removing burdensome regulations. Senator Feingold is a career politician who only knows how to grow government."
But as far as who is resonating with voters to date, according to the latest Marquette Law School poll, Feingold is supported by 50 percent of registered voters, while Sen. Johnson's support is at 37 percent.