Hard-line conservatives love his high-profile battles with Wisconsin’s unions and successful push for legislation on a number of their priorities, including lower taxes, tightened restrictions on abortions and loosened ones on guns.

“He seems like a great guy, and he gave a tremendous speech,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a leading Tea Party conservative who also spoke at the Iowa confab. 

Establishment-leaning Republicans love that he’s shown how to govern and win three elections in four years in a state that usually leans Democratic. 

“He’s got a great record in Wisconsin, and I think he’s great,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of Senate GOP leadership. “It sounds like he had a good showing in Iowa at the Freedom Summit and getting a lot of good feedback from that. If he can continue to get his story out there, he’s got a lot of room to expand his support.”

A handful of Republicans said that members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R) have long talked up Walker and his accomplishments.