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Getting out the vote: Feingold believes efforts of students will help him reclaim U.S. Senate seat

posted Nov. 5, 2016 9:03 p.m. | updated Nov. 6, 2016 12:09 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Pamela Powers. bio | email

UW-Eau Claire Spanish professor Nuria Hoff already  voted in this election — her first one since becoming a citizen 2½ years ago — but she didn’t hesitate to offer her home Saturday near campus to help university students canvas and help get out the Democratic vote Tuesday.

Democrat Russ Feingold who is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson Tuesday was on hand to help kickoff the canvassing. Feingold lost to Johnson six years ago after being a senator since 1992.

Hoff, who has lived in the U.S. just about 30 years, decided in part to get her citizenship so she could vote in this election.

“I voted at 11 a.m. the first day of early voting,” she said.

About a dozen students and other volunteers were going door to door to those who had voted Democratic in the past, but may not be regular voters to encourage them to get out and vote.

Connor Zielinksi, a UW-Eau Claire world politics and German major, canvassed Saturday for Democrats.

“A lot of times people react well to young faces,” he said. “They like to ask us why we’re out. This election is super important.”

Some of the biggest issues for Zielinski are student debt and health care. His mother works with cancer patients and some of them can’t afford care.

Alexandra Sueldo, a UW-Eau Claire junior majoring in pre-medicine and biology, also volunteered to help canvass voters for Democrats.

“This is very important for our future and for the future of our state,” she said.

Tara Balts, chairwoman of the Eau Claire County Republican Party, said a couple of dozen volunteers were at the Republican Party headquarters placing calls and going door to door to encourage people to vote Tuesday.

 “Super Saturday is going on today,” Balts said. “We’’ve had a lot of hustle and bustle people coming in for signs and to volunteer.” 

Feingold said he feels good going into Tuesday’s election as he thanked the volunteers canvassing. He did say he expects it to be a close race.

“I think we are in a good place to win, and the only way is to get out the vote,” Feingold said. “These young people are going to make a difference.”

Johnson, who was campaigning Saturday with Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker in Waukesha County, could not be reached for comment.

In interviews with The Associated Press, he has emphasized his experience creating jobs and building the Oshkosh plastics manufacturing company Pacur before winning election to the Senate, saying that real-life experience sets him apart from Feingold. Johnson said in one of the debates that “I am the working man.”

Feingold said Johnson should not have endorsed Trump.

“All I can say is Senator Johnson should have done what other Republic senators have done — separated from Donald Trump,” Feingold said “You’ve got to do what’s best for the U.S.”

Contact: 715-556-9018, pamela.powers@ecpc.com, @MenomonieBureau on Twitter