Group targets rural voters as poll shows Biden lead

    Pope Conservancy Farm in Dane County white fence with clouds above
    Pope Farm Conservancy, Dane County, Wisconsin Photo credit: Myk Jordan via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    With Wisconsin set to play a crucial role in November’s presidential election, Rural America Fund 2020, an advocacy organization, launched a steering committee last week to convince the state’s rural voters that President Donald Trump’s policies have been bad for agriculture. 

    The steering committee is made up of educators, farmers and former elected officials. The goal, according to a news release, is to “shed a light on how rural Wisconsin is being left behind and is worse off due to four years of the current administration’s policies and costly trade wars.” 

    “The Wisconsin steering committee will serve as an alternative voice to misinformation and serve as an advocate for policies that make a difference for the future of our rural communities,” said Darin Von Ruden, a Wisconsin steering committee member from Vernon County and president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union. “Wisconsin’s rural economy has been devastated by the Trump Administration’s missteps, and it’s time to turn the corner.”

    Wisconsin is one of six states in which a rural steering committee is being launched. Rural America has also announced steering committees in Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

    Three of those states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, are shaping up to be important battlegrounds in the election. Likely Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden currently has a lead in all three, according to a poll released Monday by the UW-Madison Elections Research Center

    In Wisconsin, Biden leads Trump 49-43% among registered voters. In a state with roughly the same amount of Democrats and Republicans, that means Biden is currently winning independents. 

    In Pennsylvania, the poll shows, Biden is leading 50-41% and in Michigan he’s leading 47-43%. 

    The Rural America steering committee is aiming to convince rural Wisconsinites not to vote for Trump. 

    “The majority in the Wisconsin Legislature has also abdicated its responsibility to rural Wisconsin, with their blind fealty to a failed Administration, flawed leadership at the top, and a complete inability to address the concerns of our communities,” said retired  appeals court judge and former Democratic state Rep.  Gary Sherman, a Bayfield County resident who is a member of the Rural America steering committee. “Through Rural America, we will highlight these failures and help ensure a new era of rural investment through new leadership.”

    Henry Redman
    Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.