Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker greets supporters at an election-night rally… (Scott Olson / Getty Images )
WASHINGTON -- The results in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall Tuesday night constitute a “pretty strong rebuke of liberal policies” and suggest that Wisconsin is in play for Republican Mitt Romney this fall, a top Romney advisor said Wednesday morning.
The results indicate a receptiveness in the state to a “center right” message this fall, strategist Ed Gillespie told journalists at a breakfast hosted by Bloomberg News.
The Romney campaign already is preaching that message, and nobody at his headquarters is asking, “How should we change our speech?” Gillespie said.
The last Republican presidential candidate to carry Wisconsin was Ronald Reagan in 1984, when Reagan was reelected in a landslide. Exit polling on Tuesday showed that President Obama still leads Romney by seven points in the state.
Nobody should move Wisconsin to their “leans Republican” column today, Gillespie said.
But “there was a vigorous turnout,” he said, and “a lot of Republicans and conservatives came out in Wisconsin. . . . It’s going to be much more competitive than it has been in the past.”
In the recall, a rematch of the 2010 election, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett by an 8-point margin, improving upon his 6-point win two years earlier.