Scott Walker brought his everyman pitch to New Hampshire this weekend, branding himself as the Kohl’s-wearing, Harley-riding governor.
The Wisconsin Republican’s penchant for the discount clothing company — headquartered in his home state — first got attention when he spoke before an Iowa audience three months ago, and he’s still charming audiences and getting big laughs for his unabashed enthusiasm about the department store…
“I wore a suit tonight,” he said, opening up his jacket to show the label. “The shirt is from Kohl’s. The suit is from Jos. A Bank.”…
After going to church Sunday, Walker told a small gathering of Republicans in Derry, New Hampshire, that he’s eager to get his Harley out to the state and ride around. Later, when the booming sound of a motorcycle filtered though the window, he stopped.
“That’s the sound of a Harley,” he said, exciting the audience.
Via C-Span coverage, some thoughts on the state of the 2016 GOP primary race after the two-day Republican Leadership Summit in New Hampshire:…
2) Scott Walker is steadier on his feet. The Wisconsin governor seemed a little wobbly for a time after his quick rise to GOP frontrunner following a similar Republican cattle call in Iowa in late January. Now Walker seems a little more comfortable, and his record of standing up to his state’s powerful Democratic-dominated public-sector unions has huge appeal among Republicans. But he still has to go beyond that record, to convince Republicans he has the knowledge and skills to apply his courage and determination to problems in Washington.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, pledged to protect American workers from the economic effects, not only of illegal immigration but also of a massive increase in legal immigration…
Walker is now the only potential or declared GOP presidential candidate to discuss the negative effects of a massive increase in legal immigration on American workers:
In terms of legal immigration, how we need to approach that going forward is saying—the next president and the next congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages, because the more I’ve talked to folks, I’ve talked to Senator Sessions and others out there—but it is a fundamentally lost issue by many in elected positions today—is what is this doing for American workers looking for jobs, what is this doing to wages, and we need to have that be at the forefront of our discussion going forward.
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a likely Republican presidential candidate, addressed an issue on Saturday night that has been roiling his party in recent years: gay marriage. Asked by a reporter if he would attend a gay wedding, Mr. Walker, a conservative and a son of a preacher who prays regularly for guidance, said he had attended a reception for a gay relative who had been married.
“That’s certainly a personal issue,” Mr. Walker said at a brief news conference after addressing a gathering of New Hampshire Republicans here. Referring to his wife, he continued, “Tonette and I and our family already had a family member who’s had a reception. I haven’t been to a wedding. That’s true even though my position on marriage is still that’s defined between a man and a woman, and I support the Constitution of the state. But for someone I love, we’ve been at a reception.” The governor was away on business when the wedding occurred, but he later attended a reception for the newlyweds.
On Monday, at a fund-raising event in Manhattan for the New York State Republican Party, David Koch told donors that he and his brother, who oversee one of the biggest private political organizations in the country, believed that Mr. Walker was the Republican Party’s best hope for recapturing the White House.
“We will support whoever the candidate is,” said Mr. Koch, according to two people who attended the event. “But it should be Scott Walker.”
After meeting with Mr. Walker and a group of GOP donors called the Empire Club, Mr. Koch told the Observer that he believed the governor would trounce the former first lady if Republicans get involved in the race.
“I think so, no question about it. You know, if enough Republicans have a thing to say, why, he’ll defeat her by a major margin,” he said, effusively praising Mr. Walker’s performance. “I thought he had a great message. Scott Walker is terrific and I really wish him all the best. He’s a tremendous candidate to be the nominee in my opinion.”
Though Koch said his organizations would not intervene on behalf of a single candidate, the statement of support is sure to throw Gov. Walker back into the spotlight, which may be unwelcome news for the candidate. Since mid-March, the once press-friendly Walker has been limiting his media availablity, closing off events to reporters and refusing to take questions. That pattern continued during Walker’s recent visit to Europe, where he held no public events and took no questions from reporters, and is set to continue next month when he visits Israel. Last week, an aide told The Wall Street Journal that Walker “will focus on educating himself about Israeli issues and won’t hold public events or take questions from reporters.”
Walker’s silent treatment stands in stark contrast to Republican candidates like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who will hold media availabilities during his trip to Europe in June, and Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, both of whom courted the media in the wake of their official campaign launches.
Walker has not officially launched his campaign, of course, which means he can better get away with shunning media scrutiny. He has also entertained a handful of interviews in recent weeks. But as reporters from his home state told us late last month, the current approach to the press is much more contained than it was throughout his entire tenure as governor, where he was known as a press hound who relished the attention of reporters.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is now polling ahead of where Mitt Romney was at this point in the 2012 cycle. Walker is up to 18.4 percent in an average of Iowa polls conducted in 2015; Romney was at 18 percent in surveys conducted through the first half of 2011. Looking at just the last five surveys, Walker is now up to 21.8 percent. That puts Walker in the company of past early Iowa leaders, such as Dick Gephardt in 2004 campaign and Rudy Giuliani in 2008…
In the latest live interview poll, conducted by Quinnipiac, 36 percent of Iowa caucusgoers could not form an opinion of Walker. Only 15 percent of Democrats couldn’t form an opinion of Gephardt in April 2003. Five percent of Republicans (paywall) had no opinion on Giuliani in May 2007. And 3 percent of Democrats (paywall) and 10 percent of Republicans (paywall) had no opinion on John Edwards and Romney, respectively.1 In other words, Edwards, Gephardt, Giuliani and Romney’s leads were more a function of high name recognition than Walker’s, which means Walker has a better chance than those candidates to expand his lead.
Needless to say, a Walker win in Iowa would be a big deal. While it likely wouldn’t eliminate Bush, it would make things very difficult for other conservative candidates to find a foothold going into the more moderate state of New Hampshire. Even though Iowa often doesn’t pick the nominee, no candidate has ever won a party’s nomination after coming in lower than tied for third place2 in the Iowa caucus.
We’ll have to see if Walker’s polling surge continues. He’s still not in great shape. But he’s clearly in better shape than he was a few months ago.
“I loved him,” Beck said. “I was really impressed with him, really liked him. [I] thought he had great answers for everything. We didn’t push him to the wall on things, but it’s our first meeting and I thought he had really reasonable answers.”
Beck said he would like to speak with Walker more about immigration and the Middle East, but he was “very impressed” with what he heard…
Beck said he is still a little “nervous” that Walker is an “establishment” Republican, but between Walker and the already-announced presidential candidates, there are “tremendous possibilities” for 2016.