Political science professor at St. Norbert College Charley Jacobs agrees: "It feels like a general election campaign at the end of October. It has been non-stop. Even though some of the candidates have raised a lot of money, most of the ads are from outside groups."
McCabe says voters in Wisconsin are "desperate for it to end" and the ads are "overwhelmingly negative" and "in the gutter." Despite both Republicans and Democrats claiming they are being outspent, he says it's close.
"I think the money battle is remarkably close," McCabe said, referring to both candidates and outside groups. "With interest groups…based on what we are seeing, there is a very slight edge to Republican groups, but not by much."
The Tea Party Express is joining up with other like- minded groups to launch a bus tour Friday for the four days leading up to Tuesday's election. They will hit nine cities, ending in a rally in Green Bay on Monday night. They launched television ads in the state on Thursday, according to Levi Russell, communications director for the Tea Party Express. Russell said it was about a $50,000 buy and says the tour stops will look like other Tea Party Express rallies they've held all over the country before voters go to the polls.
"The purpose is to celebrate the great things about Wisconsin and this country and change the tone of the debate and the intense anger, the personal attacks, and the fearmongering that's been pounded into Wisconsin voters," Russell said. "And remind them these state senators made the tough decisions to help get the economy back and make Wisconsin prosperous for everyone rather than the villains they have been made out to be for having stood with Governor Walker."
Jacobs says the number of remaining undecided voters in the election are small, but neither side feels as if the money is wasted because it is an investment for 2012.
"Wisconsin is pre-season for 2012 because so many of the broader issues raised by Gov. Walker and the Republican majority parallel the national scene. Some of these outside groups are testing messages and plumbing the depth of interest to the electorate. They aren't wasting money," Jacobs said. "They are betting some of this will work out for them."
Democracy for America says they have knocked on 50,000 doors in three of the districts involved over the last three weeks, and their goal is to knock on another 50,000 doors in the remaining three days.
Levana Layendecker, the communications director for DFA, agrees that this is their "top priority" and it "sets the stage" for 2012.