Michels insisted he has more real world experience than Feingold, someone he called an "extreme liberal" who's out of touch with Wisconsin voters. Feingold attacked back by saying that any Republican would be a rubber stamp for President Bush. The incumbent had $2.2 million in the bank, while Michels had already spent $1 million in the primary and had only about $150,000 left.
After U.S. Senator John Ensign, Chairman of the NRSC, was finally convinced in October that Michels had a shot, the national GOP pledged $600,000 for Tim Michels.
On October 1, a poll showed Feingold leading 52% to 39%. In mid October, another poll showed Feingold winning 48% to 43%. A poll at the end of the month showed him leading 51% to 36%.