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Stakes high for GOP as Wisconsin voters settle on a Senate matchup

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Those words were reverberating in a Thompson radio ad by Monday.

Thompson had enjoyed a big lead for months, but in recent weeks he has seen it erode as Mr. Hovde – backed by FreedomWorks PAC, a grass-roots tea party organization in Washington – has surged. The PAC endorsement, announced in July, helped raise Hovde’s visibility. Previously unknown to his party, he is running for public office for the first time.

A Public Policy Poll released Aug. 9 showed Hovde leading with 27 percent of the vote, trailed by Thompson at 25 percent and Mr. Neumann at 24 percent. Mr. Fitzgerald, whose last campaign for public office was against Mr. Walker in the 2010 Republican primary for governor, was at 15 percent.

Another poll, released Aug. 8 by Marquette Law School in Milwaukee, put Thompson ahead with 28 percent, followed by Hovde at 20 percent, Neumann  at 18 percent, and Fitzgerald at 13 percent. The polling organization says the two polls' disparity is because it included mobile phone respondents, while the Public Policy Poll did not. 

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