SAN ANTONIO, TX — Mitt Romney's campaign seem bolstered in their hopes of winning Wisconsin this fall, with Romney predicting Republican Gov. Scott Walker's victory in last night's recall election would "echo throughout the country" this November.
"What happened yesterday was people looked at a Republican governor, a conservative, and even though they may have been Democrat or independent, they looked at the record of a conservative who cut back on the size of government, who held down taxes, who said we had to reform — in this case public sector unions that asked for too much — and then he went to the polls," Romney told donors at a fundraiser here in San Antonio this morning.
Romney expanded upon that position in a conference call with business owners later this afternoon.
"The vote that we saw last night in Wisconsin said that people in what many have considered a blue state — it hasn’t voted for a Republican for president since 1984 — a blue state said we’ve seen a conservative governor, he cut back on the scale of government and has held down taxes and stood up to the public sector unions, and we want more of that not less of it," Romney told callers from the National Federation of Independent Business. "And I think you’re gonna find that in the decisions being made in November."
And while exit polls last night in Wisconsin showed Romney trailing President Obama among recall voters, the state is an attractive target for Romney's campaign as it looks to make inroads against the president's 2008 electoral map.
One Romney adviser described Walker's victory, and the mobilized, organized and well-funded Republican apparatus that made it possible, as something that "opens the door for us," in the Wisconsin — but emphasized that Romney doesn't have to win the state to reach the 270 it needs to win the White House.
Another top Romney adviser cautioned that the campaign had not yet decided how big of an effort to make towards winning Wisconsin, but suggested that the campaign would certainly be on offense there.
Wisconsin has become an unlikely incubator for top Republican talent in recent years, with Walker, RNC Chairman Reince Preibus and House Budget Committee Chairman (and oft-floated VP shortlister) Paul Ryan all hailing from the Badger state.
The Obama campaign has kept its own focus on what it asserts is Romney's lackluster record as governor.
“In Texas today, Mitt Romney offered nothing more than empty election-year promises—promises that we’ve heard from him before. He said that his priority as president would be job creation, but we know that that wasn’t his priority either as a corporate buyout specialist or during his time as governor," said Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith.