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Pence raises money for Walker in tight race against Evers



MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Locked in a tight race with Democrat Tony Evers, Republican Gov. Scott Walker looked to Vice President Mike Pence to give him a boost on Wednesday with the election less than a month away.

Pence’s two fundraisers for Walker, in Green Bay and Eau Claire, came on the same day that a new Marquette University Law School poll showed the governor’s race to be a tossup.

The survey, conducted Oct. 3 through Sunday, also showed Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin maintaining a double-digit advantage over Republican challenger Leah Vukmir.

The poll shed light on voter attitudes in Wisconsin for the first time since the culmination of the nomination fight over U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. While Democrats maintained a 6-point advantage in voter enthusiasm, it had narrowed from 11 points last month before the Kavanaugh drama.

Both Republicans and Democrats have tried to use that confirmation fight to their advantage in the Nov. 6 election.

Kavanaugh won confirmation on Saturday, just over a week after a Senate hearing that captivated the nation. Kavanaugh strongly denied allegations from Christine Blasey Ford that he had sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school decades ago.

Baldwin voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, while Vukmir was a vocal supporter . The poll showed Baldwin’s lead over Vukmir to be nearly unchanged from September, at 53 percent to 43 percent.

Walker tried to distance himself from the debate while saying he thought Kavanaugh was qualified to serve on the court. Evers, meanwhile, said he believed Ford’s accusations and that Kavanaugh should not have been confirmed.

As the enthusiasm gap narrowed, so too did the governor’s race. Evers had been up 5 points on Walker in September, but in the new poll, Walker was at 47 percent and Evers was at 46 percent.

Walker has cast himself as the underdog in the race and urged his supporters to believe the polls. Pence rallied Republicans in Green Bay, praising Walker as leading an American success story in Wisconsin while casting Evers, the state superintendent, as a liberal bureaucrat.

Evers used the Pence visit on Monday to hit on one of the central themes of his campaign — health care. He released a video renewing his challenge for Walker to drop Wisconsin from a multi-state lawsuit seeking to repeal the national health care law. Evers argued in the video that repealing the Affordable Care Act would “gut” insurance protections because it would do away with the guarantee of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

Walker supports passing a state law that would guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

In Wednesday’s Marquette poll, 50 percent of respondents said they supported keeping the Affordable Care Act in effect while 44 percent said they favored repealing it. A large majority, 78 percent, said requiring the coverage of pre-existing conditions was very important. Even among those who wanted to repeal the law, 65 percent said it was very important to require coverage for pre-existing conditions.

In other poll results:

— Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel had 47 percent support, while his Democratic challenger Josh Kaul had 43 percent.

— President Donald Trump’s approval rating was 46 percent, with 51 percent disapproving of the job he’s doing.

— 48 percent had a favorable view of Walker, while 49 percent had an unfavorable opinion.

The survey of 799 likely voters was conducted Oct. 3 through Sunday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

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