On Sept. 29, hundreds of voters filed into the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee to be able to see the First Lady.
Michelle Obama spoke at an event for democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke. With only a month left before Burke faces incumbent Governor Scott Walker at the polls, the Democratic Party sent in the First Lady to the purple state to engage voters.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore kicked off the event by outlining Burke’s resume as a businesswoman and a true Wisconsinite. Burke is a fourth generation native to the state she seeks election from.
Moore channeled her characteristic charisma at the event by setting up a scene in which Burke was on the ‘good side’.
“In this corner, the Koch brothers… In the next corner, Mary Burke,” said Moore.
Burke took the stage to raucous cheers, but only stayed so long as it took emit her confidence in her campaign.
“I get to travel around this great state, and every day I get more and more excited about winning on November 4,” said the Democratic candidate.
Burke did well to focus not on what some have called a short resume, but on what she believes is unequaled business savvy. As an executive with Trek Bicycles, she argues she’s had plenty of experience with money management.
This could be seen as an appeal to conservatives, whose fiscal preferences may not have been adhered to by other Democratic governors. In a way, Burke may still be attempting to extinguish the bad taste that the fiscal habits of Jim Doyle left on some conservatives’ tongues.
Among issues that she finds to be in need of immediate attention, however, were controversial dilemmas such as women’s rights, equal pay, and raising the minimum wage, showing that she can appeal to the fiscal conservative as well as the social liberal.
First Lady Michelle Obama followed Burke, further animating an already stimulated crowd as she took her spot before the podium.
Although some of the First Lady’s speech highlighted the president’s road to the oval office and his work after, one greater message rang through: Democrats win when voters are engaged.
She noted that her husband had won his incumbent election because those who Republicans hope will not go to the polls, those such as women and minorities who have the power to radically change election results, took the time to cast their votes
“This is going to be tight,” said the First Lady, noting that the 2010 race was won by only 6,200 votes, or, as she put it, 10 votes per ward. “When we stay home, they win.”
To this, she urged voters to find ten people who had not planned to vote, and bring them to the polls.
Milwaukee Supervisor David Bowen attended the event, and agrees.
“Let's just keep working hard. Everybody needs to get those 10 people that they know to vote. If everybody does that then we can fill those gaps internally."
There are only 36 days before the general election. If there were ever a crunch time for Burke, it was now. The Democratic Party is well aware of the stakes that this nationally watched race entails, and is exerting its final, strongest efforts by calling in the presence of the First Lady. It was clear that her visit to the event was nothing short of a brilliant call on the Democrats part, and likely helped to strike up interest in not only liberals, but conservatives. Burke was able to speak to a likely larger audience, brought there by the chance to the First Lady in person.