MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Eric Trump said Thursday that Wisconsin’s Republican senator, Ron Johnson, can help execute his father’s vision as president, working from “within Washington” while Donald Trump brings an outsider’s perspective to the White House.
Eric Trump spoke to The Associated Press before a series of campaign stops for his father in western Wisconsin, including a couple with Johnson, who’s locked in a tight re-election fight against Democrat Russ Feingold.
“People want somebody who’s not a career politician to fix the problems,” Eric Trump said. “Our politicians have done very, very little for this country.”
Asked why he’s campaigning with Johnson, who is already in Washington, Eric Trump said, “It’s a great question. You also need people from within Washington. You need people who know how the government works and can go in there and shred apart the parts that aren’t working.”
One flashpoint in the race has been Johnson’s attempts to cast himself as a Washington outsider and Feingold as the ultimate career politician. The Feingold campaign immediately seized on Trump’s remarks as evidence that Johnson isn’t the outsider he claims to be.
“I heard what he said. He said that Ron Johnson was a good Washington insider and I think he nailed it,” Feingold said after visiting a campaign headquarters in Madison. “He’s a Washington insider.”
Pete Meachum, Donald Trump’s Wisconsin spokesman, rejected that.
“The Wisconsin Senate race is tighter than ever because everybody knows Ron Johnson is the outsider running against Senator Feingold, a failed career politician who has spent decades in Washington failing to fix our country’s problems,” Meachum said.
Johnson spent his career in the business world before knocking off Feingold in 2010 as the Democrat sought a fourth Senate term. Their rematch this year is one of a handful of races that could swing the Senate to Democratic control.
Sen. Jeff Merkley, of Oregon, made stops at Feingold campaign offices in Madison on Thursday and said the fight for Democrats to take control of the Senate is “right on a knife’s edge.”
Eric Trump said he sees his father as the outsider working with lawmakers like Johnson to enact his vision for the country.
“I’m here to speak on behalf of my father but I think you need someone to set a macro vision for the country and then align smart, competent people to execute that,” the younger Trump said.
Johnson is running stronger than Trump in Wisconsin. A Marquette University Law School poll on Wednesday showed Clinton ahead of Trump by 6 points, which is consistent with other public polls. That race showed the Johnson-Feingold race as about even.
Also on Thursday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it was making a last-minute $1 million investment in the race. It released a television ad blasting Feingold as a hypocrite on campaign finance, a theme Johnson has hammered during the campaign.
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Republican Party released a six-figure radio ad featuring female office holders explaining why they’re voting for Trump instead of trying to make Clinton the first woman president. The ad features comments from state Sens. Alberta Darling and Leah Vukmir, along with state Rep. Janel Brandtjen.
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