Fitchburg, Wisconsin (CNN) – Sounding a confident note, on Saturday Mitt Romney predicted he would win Tuesday’s Wisconsin’s primary – a contest some see as pivotal in helping him all but end the GOP nomination fight.
The Republican candidate was in Fitchburg speaking to volunteers for the state’s embattled governor, Scott Walker, who is facing a recall effort.
- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
Romney told the group he could feel the support for his presidential bid “growing stronger and stronger.”
“This was an uphill battle for me if you look back three or four weeks ago, and now we’re looking like we’re going to win this thing on Tuesday,” Romney said of the state’s primary.
Though the GOP front-runner conceded he had “a ways to go” before reaching the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination, Romney seemed to nod to the symbolic importance of winning another Midwestern state that could be up for grabs in the fall.
“I got a good boost from the folks in Illinois, and if I can get that boost also from Wisconsin, I think we’ll be on a path that will get me the nomination well before the convention,” he said.
In his speeches across the state this week, Romney has set the stage for a general election battle by focusing on the president and neglecting to mention his Republican opponents in the race.
An NBC/Marist poll showed him leading former Sen. Rick Santorum by seven points in Wisconsin.
Currently second in both Wisconsin and the overall GOP delegate count, Santorum sought on Saturday to portray Romney as undesirable to conservative voters.
"Americans are not looking for lukewarm right now," he said. "They're looking for bold contrasting colors. They're looking for someone at a difficult time in American history who isn't going to manage Washington but is going to transform it with a passion, with a zeal that can motivate and lift up the American people."
Earlier in the day House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, Romney’s latest high-profile backer, called for the party to coalesce around the former Massachusetts governor.
“I think there comes a point where this primary can become counterproductive, where if we keep dragging this thing on it gets us off of the mission and the goal, which is this: Save our country in November by replacing Barack Obama as our president,” he told voters in Waukesha.