Where is Scott Walker?
'tick-toc': you can only lay low so long
Where has Scott Walker gone?
Sixty days ago the man was a lock, a shoe-in, the fearless leader who faced down the union bosses, corrupt prosecutors, and leftist press, coming out with an arm raised in a “one-two-three, the winner!” salute. He was the golden boy, the governor on a throne of skulls.
Now there’s a veritable stampede of Republican virgins in presidential politics announcing their campaigns: Cruz, Paul, Rubio, and Florina are in. Huckabee, the one veteran in the flock, is in. Jeb Bush is a foregone conclusion. Christie is teetering but probably going to be in. Oh, and Dr. Ben Carson (to be fair it’s also Dr. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) 87%, who sometimes goes by the honorarium “Senator”) is in the race, which makes his followers happy.
Where is Walker?
The Hill says Walker has “hit a bump.”
A Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday still shows him with a big lead in the Hawkeye State, with 21 percent support. He leads Rubio, the next closest candidate, by 8 percentage points.
But Walker’s support has fallen in Iowa. In a Quinnipiac poll from February, Walker had taken 25 percent support and led the next closest candidate by 12 percentage points.
Nationally, Walker’s support peaked at 17.3 percent on April 1 and dropped to 12.3 percent on Wednesday, according to the
RealClearPolitics average of polls.
Is this merely a question of timing, or is it a real thing that Walker may decide to sit 2016 out?
Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, hasn’t set a firm timeline for an announcement. In February, he said a decision would be “a ways off” and acknowledged that, like Bush, he would skip the exploratory committee stage.
He also enjoys high name recognition, building off the national profile he created when he fought the state’s public employee unions after taking office (and when those same groups tried an unsuccessful recall). Walker is pulling positive poll numbers, leading in a handful of the surveys that have been conducted in early primary states.
Letting the other candidates get the press klieg lights for a while, and sitting tight until Bush announces may be a good strategy, but money powers campaigns, and people are herd animals. If you can’t prove you can attract cash from the grassroots, then people don’t give to your campaign. Cruz has proved he can haul in the cash: $4.3 million at the end of March. Carson’s also a cash magnet with $2.1 million in the bank before he even announced. Paul’s got at least $2 million, although he won’t report to the FEC until July.
Without an exploratory committee, Walker has whatever was left from his gubernatorial races and whatever he can get from the Super PACs. There’s at least $30 million in those coffers—but he can’t count on that money.
We might truly have a dark horse candidate in Walker, or we might have a game of chicken where the Wisconsin governor veers away.
Good-looking polls numbers are fleeting political capital, and eventually they fade into dust. In my book, the more the merrier, especially with so many first-timers on the campaign trail. Any of them look good compared to Hillary (or Martin O’Malley, or—God forbid—Bernie Sanders).
Laying low may be a valid strategy. But the world moves on, money changes hands, and the chances fade at the drop of a hat.
Governor Walker, every time the sun rises, the watch word is “tick-toc.”