President Obama defeated Mitt Romney in Wisconsin on Tuesday, according to Associated Press and network projections, giving the incumbent 10 electoral votes in a state that was once safely Democratic but had been considered up for grabs in recent months.
Wisconsin has chosen Democrats in each presidential election since 1988. But in the past few years, the state has voted more Republican. It elected a Republican governor, Scott Walker, in 2010, the same year that Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold was defeated by Republican challenger Ron Johnson. Johnson became the state’s first Republican senator in 18 years.
Though Walker provoked the ire of some in the state by pushing through laws to limit collective bargaining for public employees, an effort to recall him was defeated earlier this year, and his approval rating has been rising. State and national Republicans have cited Walker as an example of how cutting spending and rolling back union power have a beneficial effect on the economy.
Republicans also hoped to gain some home-state advantage because of Paul D. Ryan, Romney’s vice presidential pick, a popular congressman from Janesville, who has been warmly welcomed every time he returns to the state. Ryan made three stops in one day in Wisconsin last week.