SOUTHEASTERN WISCONSIN -- Candidates vying for Wisconsin's U.S. Senate seat appeared in Fourth of July parades across southeastern Wisconsin Wednesday. It was a way for candidates to meet voters, shake hands and promote name recognition ahead the election.
"Shaking hands and saying 'hello,' and wishing everybody a happy Fourth of July," Republican Tommy Thompson said.
"Running back and forth, shaking a lot of hands. It's been real encouraging -- 'we're with you,' giving me big rounds of applause. It's been great. Other than it is just really hot!" Republican and political newcomer Eric Hovde said.
"Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, this is a day to celebrate our independence," Republican Mark Neumann said.
"We made the tough decisions, but in the long run we've gotten the state back on the right track. Now it's time to get our country back," Neumann said.
Each of the candidates marched in multiple Fourth of July parades on Wednesday.
FOX6 News asked each candidate what they would tell a voter in the few seconds they have while shaking hands.
"The message is -- I'm running for the right reasons. This country is in bad shape. I love this country, but we've got to turn it around before it's too late," Thompson said.
"Balance the budget and repeal Obamacare," Neumann said.
"It's real simple -- we've got to get our economy fixed. Our economy is in a lot of trouble and we're heading toward a financial cliff with all the debt we're racking up," Hovde said.
"I think it's a very simple message for me. What we've done in Wisconsin, we have to do on a national level," Fitzgerald said.
A recent poll showed Thompson with a wide lead over the others, but also 25 percent of voters undecided.
"Anybody can win at this point, and I'm just happy to be part of this debate as we turn this nation around," Neumann said.
The race has been overshadowed by the recall effort against Gov. Scott Walker, but with just over a month until voters take to the polls, the candidates know the public is paying attention.
"As the race comes into focus now, I think you'll see everybody's name identification go up, and I like my chances," Fitzgerald said.