The nation’s top Dems told state party activists Sunday evening Wisconsin is the linchpin in their efforts, urging them to mobilize around successes such as a refundable child tax credit to turn out voters next fall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also talked about two Wisconsin races as key to their prospects next fall.

Pelosi praised U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, for the perspective he brings to the caucus, while Schumer knocked U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh.

“Sometimes when he gets up to speak on the floor, even Republicans roll their eyes,” Schumer said. “I mean gee whiz, we have to beat him to increase our majority.”

Pelosi, Schumer and DNC Chair Jamie Harrison joined a virtual fundraiser this evening as part of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s state convention. The call was hosted by state Chair Ben Wikler, and Schumer first hopped on the call from his car as he drove him from a joint party of his mother’s 93rd birthday, which was Sunday, and his father’s 98th birthday in a week.

Wikler asked Schumer how Dems would approach efforts to approve voting rights legislation after U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., announced in a column today that he would vote against the bill. Dems have pushed the legislation, which would limit gerrymandering of congressional districts and require third-party groups to reveal secret donors, among other things, over GOP opposition.

Manchin wrote in a column any voting rights bill should be bipartisan, and his opposition leaves backers short of a path to a majority vote in the Senate. The legislation already faced difficult odds of overcoming a GOP filibuster.

Schumer didn’t offer any specifics on how Dems would win Manchin over or push the bill through the Senate other than vowing, “We have no choice but to keep fighting until we succeed.”

Much of the video fundraiser was a call to action for activists. Pelosi urged those on the video call to “own the ground.”

The latest federal COVID-19 package includes a child tax credit that will result in checks of between $250 and $300 per child being sent monthly to many families starting in July through the end of 2021.

Those on the call singled it out as something activists should make sure their friends and neighbors know is due to Dem control of the federal government.

“We have to tell the story,” Pelosi said.

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Preya Samsundar countered “Wisconsin families will be at the bottom of the Democrats’ list of priorities” if the last six months are any indication of what’s to come.

“Wisconsinites have watched in horror as Democrats hurt their families by dismantling the economy, destroying opportunities, and creating crisis after crisis,” she said.

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