BROWN COUNTY — As presidential hopefuls like Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney once again travel around Wisconsin on Sunday, local Republicans say it's been an exciting time getting to meet and greet the candidates.
"I think it's wonderful because hopefully it will energize the voting block. Wisconsin does not have a record turnout of voters. Brown County last time had 38%. That’s terrible. Hopefully this will energize them,” said Brown County Republican chair Vern Krawczyk.
In the past two weeks, Northeast Wisconsin has seen several stops from Santorum, Romney and Newt Gingrich. Ron Paul has visited other parts of the state, including Madison.
St. Norbert College political science professor Charley Jacobs said those appearances may help voters better identify with candidates.
"Getting out on the street and pressing the flesh with the individuals can help people make up their mind. They get a look at the candidate's character as well as hear what their policy ideas are,” said Jacobs.
But, Jacobs said excitement within a party's base may not translate into higher numbers of people voting in Tuesday's primary election.
"On the one hand, we have a very competitive race for the GOP nomination, the most since the 1980 election,” said Jacobs. “I would expect to see some average turnout but I don't expect to see people flooding the polls this Tuesday for the GOP primary."
Jacobs said the latest polls favor Romney to win in Wisconsin. Brown County Republicans say they aren't endorsing any candidate until after the election.
"I never count anybody out," said Krawczyk, adding that all of the candidates he’s seen still have potential.
And with the time before the primary dwindling, party organizers said it's time for the public to take action.
"I don't care what your views are. My goodness, get out and vote!" said Krawczyk.
Appearing on a national news show Sunday morning, Santorum took issue with the head of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus. Priebus said whoever wins Wisconsin will have some serious bragging rights. Santorum says he doesn't see a win in Wisconsin as "do or die."
The two front-runners continue their trek through Wisconsin Monday.
Romney will be in Green Bay Monday morning at the Wisconsin Building Supply at 11. Then he will travel down to Milwaukee.
Santorum will make three stops in the area. His first stop will be at The Gathering in Shawano. He's scheduled to be there at 9 a.m. Then he will travel to Sabre Lanes in Menasha for 12:30. His last stop will be in Oshkosh. He's scheduled to arrive around 2:30 at La Sure's Banquet Hall.
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