Mitt Romney has begun general-election television advertising in Wisconsin, the home state of vice-presidential running mate Paul Ryan.
It’s a sign Republicans see Wisconsin as competitive four years after President Barack Obama carried the state by 14 percentage points, the sixth consecutive time that Wisconsin voted Democratic for president.
Romney’s Wisconsin ad, announced by his campaign today, begins with him saying at the Republican National Convention Aug. 30 that Obama “cannot tell us that you’re better off today than when he took office.” A “prairie fire of debt” is hurting Wisconsin, and Romney will reduce taxes and federal budget deficits and create more than 240,000 jobs as president, the ad promises.
In using Romney convention footage, the Wisconsin ad is similar to 15 spots in eight swing states that the Romney campaign introduced Sept. 7, one day after Obama formally accepted renomination at the Democratic National Convention.
Wisconsin last voted Republican for president in 1984. Republicans say the state is in play in the Nov. 6 election because of a weak economic recovery, Ryan’s addition to the Republican ticket and Republican Governor Scott Walker beating back a recall campaign in June.
Wisconsin hosted the closest race in the 2004 presidential election, backing Democratic nominee John Kerry over President George W. Bush by four-tenths of one percentage point.
While Romney is running general election ads in Wisconsin for the first time, four pro-Romney groups ran anti-Obama ads during the summer. Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit group founded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, and Restore Our Future, a pro-Romney super-political action committee, together ran 4,792 ads from late June to late August, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG. The Republican National Committee and Concerned Women for America also ran ads in Wisconsin. Obama hasn’t run any ads on Wisconsin stations.