By Scott Bauer
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, took jabs at Donald Trump in his first campaign stop in Wisconsin on Friday, while also praising a federal court ruling overturning a number of voting rules approved by Republicans.
“We’re talking about jobs, and Donald Trump is basically shadowboxing with every enemy he can think of,” Kaine said to cheers at a rally outside of Lakefront Brewery along the Milwaukee River.
Kaine’s appearance in the Democratic stronghold of Milwaukee came about six hours before Trump was to hold a rally in Green Bay.
While Wisconsin’s highest-ranking Republican office-holders were skipping the Trump rally, Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett all spoke at the Kaine event.
Kaine took a brief tour of the brewery before speaking.
“Friday afternoon in Milwaukee at a brewery. Who says campaigning is tough?” Kaine said. “This is so very nice.”
Kaine said there is a growing number of microbreweries in Richmond, Virginia, but “we’re not quite at the Milwaukee volume or the Milwaukee reputation.”
He cited Lakefront as an example of a small business that would benefit with Clinton as president but not if Trump were elected.
Kaine, a senator from Virginia, hailed last week’s ruling by a federal judge striking down as unconstitutional a number of limitations on early voting locations and hours, and elements of Wisconsin’s photo identification requirement.
“I salute you for doing that,” Kaine said. “You’ve enabled more people to participate.”
Kaine said Republicans are trying to make it more difficult for Democrats to vote all across the country. He also noted the federal appeals court ruling striking down North Carolina’s voter ID law.
“If you don’t think your vote matters, then why is the other side working so hard to make sure you can’t vote?” Kaine said. “They don’t want you at the polls because they know if you come they will lose.”
Plaintiffs in the Wisconsin case argued that the rules were designed to suppress Democratic votes and the judge agreed. Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel, a vocal Trump supporter, has vowed to appeal so the changes won’t take effect for the Nov. 8 election.
Wisconsin Republican Party executive director Mike Duffey branded Kaine as a “Washington insider” in a statement about the campaign stop. Duffey noted that Milwaukee County was the only one Clinton won in the April primary.
“While Hillary’s campaign plays it safe, campaigning in the only county in the state that Hillary managed to win, Wisconsin voters will remember her lies to the American public and her record of scandal when deciding who is best to bring change in Washington, D.C.,” Duffey said.