White House adviser Karl Rove (search) told Republican activists in Wisconsin Saturday that their work in last year's presidential campaign was not lost despite the fact President Bush didn't win the state.

Sen. John Kerry (search), the Democratic presidential candidate, won Wisconsin on Nov. 2 by about 11,000 votes, a margin of less than one percent.

"While we came up just a little, teensy, itsy-bitsy short in Wisconsin, this victory would not have been possible had it not been for your efforts," said Rove, a White House deputy chief of staff who is credited with mapping out Bush's campaign victories in 2000 and 2004.

Rove said Kerry was forced to play defense in Wisconsin, visiting the state eight times in the last week of the campaign.

Rove's fund-raising visit came as state Republicans gear up to try to unseat Gov. Jim Doyle (search) and Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager (search), both first-term Democrats running for re-election in 2006