The biggest question surrounding Walker heading into the weekend is whether his charisma could stack up against the other White House contenders. It was a worry Walker shared — one Republican who talked to him backstage said the governor expressed concern that people would view him as “bland.” But as the strode onstage with his shirt sleeves rolled up and paced about the floor, those worries vanished.

“Walker found a way to talk about himself, talk about the country and talk about Iowa in perfect proportionality, and he did so with a style that was very easy and engaging,” said Republican pollster Frank Luntz. “He connected to these people — you could see it.”

Iowa GOP power brokers say Walker has also performed well in casual conversations and private meetings.

“He was quite impressive in terms of him talking about specifics about what he’s done in Wisconsin and the kind of leader he was,” said Iowa Republican National Committeeman Steve Scheffler, who met with Walker last week at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in San Diego. “People want somebody like him who has a track record and isn’t afraid to take on the powers that be, whether that be Scott Walker or whoever.”