President Obama needs Wisconsin to secure reelection in 2012, and he might struggle at winning the state, the RNC's new chairman said Wednesday.
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus said Wisconsin would be a "battleground" state for Obama to win in 2012, after Republicans swept to victories there in last fall's elections.
"When the two choices were laid out to the people of Wisconsin, Wisconsin chose the Republicans. My suspicion is that Barack Obama's map does not add up without Wisconsin being in his column," Priebus said on a conference call previewing Obama's visit to the state Wednesday afternoon.
Obama will visit Manitowoc, Wis., as part of his "White House to Main Street" tour, where he'll promote his economic agenda at a factory and clean-energy company.
The president will be effectively visiting one of the points of origin for the "shellacking" he and Democrats received in the 2010 elections.
Republican Ron Johnson upset Sen. Russ Feingold (D) in the state's Senate race, and Scott Walker (R) won the governor's race. In two House races, GOP candidates beat Democrats to take over the seats.
The shift toward Republicans was especially stunning after Obama won the state, 56-43 percent, in 2008. No Republican has won the state since President Reagan sought reelection in 1984.
"I'm sure we'll see him a few more times between now and 2012," Johnson said on the same conference call.
Priebus hails from Wisconsin, where he was party chairman until being elected the head of the RNC earlier this month.
"My responsibility, in part, as chairman of the RNC is to make sure that we elect the Republican nominee for president," he said. Due to those efforts, Priebus said he would "suspect" Wisconsin will go Republican again in 2012.