Ah, I see he’s considering the daring “reverse Giuliani” strategy, in which an aspiring GOP nominee competes everywhere except Florida.
No, seriously: What?
“If we chose to get in, I don’t think there’s a state out there we wouldn’t play in, other than maybe Florida, where Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are,” Walker said, suggesting that the expensive contest could equalize the money gap between himself and the better-funded Bush.
“Some of the polls essentially tied and they’re going to eat up a good amount of that financial advantage that Gov. Bush is going to have,” he added, noting that incumbent Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election campaign spent about $100 million in 2014. “A good chunk of that will be going up to the Florida primary.”
He starts off by suggesting he can’t win Florida because of Bush’s and Rubio’s strength there — a bad attitude for a national candidate, but understandable — yet by the end he’s talking about Florida as a money-suck for Jeb, which can only mean that Walker himself won’t devote serious resources to winning there. Huh. It’s true that Florida is a death match for Bush and Rubio in a way it wasn’t for any of the candidates in 2008 or 2012. In those two cycles, the state cemented the eventual nominee’s frontrunner status and propelled him to victory; this time, it may end up as a referendum on its two native sons, with the eventual loser viewed as an also-ran nationally after being rejected by the voters who know them best. You can appreciate why Walker wouldn’t want to plow untold millions into a contest where he’s probably destined to do no better than third (unless he wins multiple states before that and is already seen as the frontrunner for the nomination, of course). In fact, I can almost see the logic for the entire GOP field devoting only token resources to Florida while Bush and Rubio slug it out. By effectively boycotting the state, they’d minimize the boost the eventual winner, whether Bush or Rubio, got from it.
But they can’t do that, of course. Florida isn’t just any state: It’s an absolute must-win for the GOP in 2016. Assuming Hillary holds the states that have gone Democratic in presidential elections for the past 20 years, she would have to win Florida and Florida alone to reach 270 electoral votes and clinch the presidency. Roughly 80 percent of the reason for nominating Jeb Bush is that he stands a better chance than nearly anyone else in the field of delivering Florida. (It’s probably 50 percent of the reason for nominating Rubio, a stronger candidate.) For Walker or any other Republican to snub the state and forgo the opportunity in the primary to build a political network there for the general election would be political suicide, to the point where I’m surprised he’d even raise the idea in an interview.
Via the Daily Caller, here he is spitballing the reverse Giuliani with Laura Ingraham.