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‘Enthusiasm on the ground:’ 1 year away, Republicans and Democrats prepare for 2020 election

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – With about one year to go until the 2020 presidential election, the leaders of the republican and democratic parties of Wisconsin say enthusiasm and party efforts are at unprecedented levels.

“We have more enthusiasm on the ground than I have ever seen for being one year out from an election,” said Mark Jefferson, Executive Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. “People are fired up. They’re hitting doors.”

Democrats echo that sentiment after holding door-knocking events across the state this past weekend.

“We knocked more doors this weekend than Democratic Party or presidential volunteers did in the entire year in 2015 a year out from the 2016 election,” said Ben Wikler, the Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “We are so far beyond where we’ve been before any previous election that it’s hard to even make the comparison.”

Then-candidate Donald Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 by less than one-percent. Since then, the state has had a gubernatorial election and state Supreme Court race that were decided by razor-thin margins. The Badger State is considered a toss-up in 2020.

Both republicans and democrats say they have learned lessons over the past four years and will be applying aggressive strategies to amplify voter enthusiasm and turnout in next year’s contest.

“You’re going to see more retail politics than what you’ve seen in the past,” said Jefferson. “You’re going to see better data than you’ve ever seen in the past on the republican side.”

For democrats, they hope to make up ground in 2020 by casting a wider net than they did in 2016.

“We have to show up and listen and organize in communities of color across Wisconsin, in rural areas across Wisconsin” Wikler told CBS 58. “The Milwaukee suburbs that used to be bright red, now are turning purple.”

President Trump trails the top three democratic candidates – former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren – in the latest Marquette University Law School Poll.

Both sides, however, note that no matter what polls indicate, they will not let up any effort between now and Election Day.

“This race is going to be close,” said Jefferson.

“We’re the tipping point state,” Wikler noted. “That’s why we’re balanced on a knife’s edge.”

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