Excerpt: Three gubernatorial candidates are visiting the Fox Valley this month, hoping to get a toehold in a region that is key in deciding the fall election.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democratic frontrunner, on Thursday picked a training center in Kaukauna as the site of his first campaign visit to the area and held it up as a model for economic revival in the state.
Republicans Scott Walker, the Milwaukee County executive, and his chief rival, former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, are planning visits to Appleton on Feb. 15.
The names of restaurants, offices and communities they have visited since launching their campaigns roll off their tongues.
All three say job creation will be the top priority of the next administration. The Fox Valley, with embattled manufacturing remaining the largest employment sector, is prime territory for a high-stakes battleground.
Here's why: One of five votes cast in the 2006 Republican primary came from six counties in the Fox Valley — Brown, Calumet, Fond du Lac, Outagamie, Waupaca and Winnebago. And more than one of 10 votes cast in that general election came from the Fox Valley.