State Senate leaders debate who will have upper hand in November - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

State Senate leaders debate who will have upper hand in November

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Madison, WI (WKOW) - - The Democratic leader in the Wisconsin Senate believes Gov. Scott Walker's (R-Wisconsin) sagging poll numbers will lead to his party regaining a majority in the chamber, but the top Senate Republican says President Obama's sinking popularity will have a bigger impact in helping his candidates.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) debated that issue at a luncheon presented by WisPolitics on Thursday.

Governor Walker released a new television ad hours earlier, which literally shows him in a hole in the ground.  He suggests he's helping Wisconsin climb out of the hole, which was created by Democrats. But Sen. Larson sees it a different way.

"And I think it's appropriate because people are not going to be willing to hand the shovel back over to the person who's been digging in the ditch, digging the grave for the middle class in this state for the last four years," said Sen. Larson.

Sen. Fitzgerald said he is only focused on individual Senate races, which he believes still stack up well for Republicans.

"No matter what happens in the gubernatorial (race), there's not always a direct connection, and right now I feel like the Senate is not only going to remain Republican, but we have a really good shot of picking up an additional seat," said Sen. Fitzgerald.

"I think people are smarter than that," answered Sen. Larson. "And I think that Walker is gonna be a millstone around the candidates' necks as they try to go door to door to talk about this.  We've seen that in the polls."

Fitzgerald said the polls he's seen definitely favor the GOP candidates and thinks, if anything, it will be President Obama's sagging numbers that impact those races more.

"The Obama numbers are dismal," said Sen. Fitzgerald.  "And as a result of that, whether you like it or not, no matter what state you're in, that is certainly going to trickle through when it comes to the November elections."

Republicans currently control the Senate 17 to 15, with one vacant seat.  That means Democrats would have to keep the seats they have and pick up two others to gain a majority in January.    

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