|Senator Russ Feingold faces a serious reelection challenge.|
MADISON, Wis. — President Obama hopes to improve the fortunes of suddenly imperiled Wisconsin Democrats as he celebrates Labor Day with the state’s union workers today.
Democrats are happy for any boost he can deliver — though his appeal has been sliding — as resurgent Republicans have two big targets: three-term US Senator Russ Feingold, whose defeat could help them gain control of the Senate, and the governor’s office, which is open for the first time in nearly three decades.
“This has and will give us a shot in the arm, a lot of excitement to begin our political season,’’ said Sheila Cochran, the head of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, which organizes the Laborfest event.
While some union leaders have been disappointed with Obama and his ability to push through prolabor legislation, Democrats are still counting on labor for get-out-the-vote efforts and campaign help.
However, when Obama is to speak in Milwaukee, Feingold will be about 60 miles away at a parade in his hometown of Janesville.
Feingold, who faces a serious reelection challenge from Republican Ron Johnson, planned to be at the Milwaukee event in the morning, four hours before the president arrives.
Feingold has said he hopes to appear with Obama the next time he is in Wisconsin.
Obama will be speaking to a friendly crowd, but there’s no denying that times are tough for unions and Democrats here.
For a while it looked as though the same
Wisconsin has lost 182,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000.