The first wave of the upcoming tide of GOP presidential campaigning in Wisconsin descended upon Miss Katie's Diner Thursday morning, with an appearance by Ann Romney, wife of the Republican frontrunner.
Romney was introduced to the small diner crowd by state Sen. Alberta Darling, who co-chairs Mitt Romney's Wisconsin campaign with former state Sen. Ted Kanavas. Darling said Wisconsin is undergoing a "revolution," and said Badger state voters are "very different from Illinois." She predicted that Romney will fare better in Wisconsin than he did in Tuesday's Illinois primary, where he took 47 percent of the vote.
"We are Romney turf here in Wisconsin," she said.
The Romneys, who celebrated their anniversary yesterday, received additional good news Wednesday when they learned Mitt Romney was endorsed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Ann Romney, who lived with her husband in Michigan, said she has somewhat of a Wisconsin connection because their summer cottage was just on the other side of Lake Michigan.
After Romney's last run for president, Ann told her husband she didn't want him to run for any more campaigns, to which Mitt replied: "Ann, after pregnancy you say the same thing."
Ann said she changed her mind and urged him to run last year.
"I take my hat off to all of the families that are in this fight," she said. It's not easy. It's tough on families."
The crowd inside was supportive, with only one protestor pacing outside.
"I think Mitt handles challenges well," said Romney supporter David Erickson, of Milwaukee. "He's a likeable person, and I think he will do well."
Wisconsin could be a battleground state that determines whether Santorum will be a competitor in the race to the GOP nomination. Super PAC ads are already airing, and Romney announced Thursday his first Wisconsin ad is being released.
Two polls, both released about a month ago, show Santorum up by 16 points in Wisconsin.
Kanavas said he believes those polls will be proved wrong, by the time the results are tabulated on April 3.
"He's clearly very pasionate about the issues facing this country...There's no question he's the answer," the former Brookfield legislator said.
Another supporter, Franklin resident Gail Kirner, said he likes both Santorum and Romney, but he compared Santorum to a young Ronald Reagan who needs to mature before he is presidential material.
"I think (Romney) will bring hope back to the country," he said.