The Sleeper: Scott Walker Is the Dark-Horse GOP Candidate for 2016
Walker has told the national media he’s not ruling out a White House bid, and he headlined a Republican Party fundraiser last month in Iowa, which traditionally hosts the first presidential nominating contest, followed by New Hampshire. The governor is also writing a book about his triumph in the 2012 recall election after he revoked collective bargaining rights and set off a political firestorm.
This positioning for the national stage comes as no surprise to Wisconsin Republicans, who joke that Walker has been running for president since he was an ambitious politician-in-the-making at the American Legion’s Badger Boys State. He was picked to represent Wisconsin at Boys Nation in Washington, D.C. and, in a moment he describes as seminal to his political career, met President Reagan. He was only 22 years old when he ran his first campaign for the State Assembly.
Democrats have also been taking shots at Wisconsin’s economic record in the wake of Walker’s fiscal reforms. Wisconsin was recently ranked 44th in private sector job creation. In another potential blemish on Walker’s record, an audit last month found financial mismanagement at the state’s economic development agency.
“Walker has put himself in a perilous position to pander to caucus-goers in Iowa rather than creating jobs and fixing the economy,” said Danny Kanner, a spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association.
Last week, Walker gratified the religious right and provoked the Democratic Party when he said he would sign a bill requiring women seeking abortions to get ultrasound exams. The legislation is similar to the controversial law signed by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Eager to keep flogging the GOP’s alleged “war on women,” Democrats linked Walker’s promise to sign the abortion bill with the recent vote by a all-male House committee to ban abortions after 20 weeks and Arizona Rep. Trent Franks’ comment that rape victims infrequently get pregnant.