2. Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin:
Basic Background Information
- 47 years old
- Attended Marquette University but did not graduate
- Ran for the Wisconsin State Assembly at 22 years old (1990); he lost. Has not lost an election since
- Moved to a more conservative district, won a seat three years later (1993)
- Reelected four times (1993-2002).
- Won a four year term as Milwaukee County Executive in 2002.
- Ran for governor in 2006, but he dropped out a year later when he could not raise enough money to stay competitive
- Ran again in 2010 and won.
- Won a recall election in 2012
- Won second term as governor in 2014
Scott Walker Political Profile:
- Well suited for the states that have early primaries/caucuses?
–Iowa-yes, New Hampshire-yes.
- Skeletons in the closet (that we know about)?
–Spent twenty minutes talking on the phone with a journalist pretending to be David Koch (http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/11/i-punkd-scott-walker-100033.html#.VN_hcXvpwQo, http://www.onewisconsinnow.org/files/Scott%20Walker%20David%20Koch%20Transcript.pdf, http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2011/02/23/133996140/wisconsins-gov-walker-takes-prank-call-from-fake-koch-brother). An embarrassing and amateurish moment for sure, but not a serious problem going forward.
–Probably nothing, but he did not end up graduating from Marquette University. This has been the subject of a great deal of speculation lately but there has not been a definitive resolution on this issue.
–Still a relatively unknown political figure, so it will be interesting to see what comes out as the country gets to know Walker.
- Candidate’s Weaknesses: Ties to unpopular positions or politicians?
–A relative unknown: Unlike Christie, Paul, and Cruz, Walker has lower name recognition.
–Like most governors, Walker has no foreign policy experience.
–Good friends with Representative Paul Ryan and John Kasich, so if either of those two enter the race, Walker might be more reluctant to do so.
–Walker’s union busting may not play well in a general election.
–Not known as a great public speaker; said to lack charisma.
–Has supported a path to citizenship in the past.
Prevailing sentiment: “Everyone’s second choice”
- What is this candidate’s selling points?
–Many high-level Republicans (including Walker himself) have recently stressed the importance of nominating a governor. They think it is critical that the Republican nominee have some previous governing experience, believing the ability to administrate is essential to becoming an effective president. Obviously, Walker fits this description.
–Like Senator Paul, it is conceivable that Governor Walker could win in both Iowa and New Hampshire, which could lock up the nomination:
- Walker is positioned close enough to Iowa to make frequent trips there.
- He also grew up in Iowa, which certainly doesn’t hurt.
–He is relatively unknown. As then Senator Obama proved, being relatively unknown can be a strength.
–Could potentially unite all of the factions of the Republican Party. Walker can cite different decisions during his tenure as governor that would please the various Republican factions.
–Appears to be a viable general election candidate.
–Unlike Governor Christie and a few other Republican governors, Walker chose not to accept the Medicare money allotted to Wisconsin under the Affordable Care Act. That will certainly play well in the Republican primary.
- Best suited for the general election or primaries? Establishment or outsider candidate?
–The general election, but its close. Outsider, but its close.
- Trending upward, downward , or neither. Why?
–Upward. Governor Romney’s decision not to run again, may benefit Governor Walker the most. Right now there are two top tier Republican candidates—Jeb Bush and Scott Walker.
- On a scale of 1-10 (with ten being certain to run) how likely is he to run?
–Nine. By all accounts it looks like Walker will run.
Scott Walker: Key Questions
- Can Governor Walker continue to maintain his appeal with both the establishment and the conservative parts of the Republican Party?
- Is Governor Walker charismatic enough to lead the Republican Party?
- Can Governor Walker appeal to independent/moderate voters if he has to move rightward politically in order to win the Republican nomination?
- Can Governor Walker avoid making the types of amateur mistakes that other candidates who were once thought of as top-tier Republican contenders have been unable to avoid?