Scott Walker’s Opening Move - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Scott Walker’s Opening Move

With his recent appearance in Iowa generating rave reviews, Scott Walker, the intrepid Republican Governor of Wisconsin, has made his opening move in the 2016 presidential primary.

Walker, of course, is the man who has basically been running, non-stop, for office while engaging in a take-no-prisoners battle with the public employee unions in the Dairy State. He has had to manage, in close succession, an election campaign, a fight against a recall, and an impressive re-election victory. He is the Iron Man of state electoral politics. He racked up wins in 2010, 2012, and 2014.

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” said Friedrich Nietzsche.

Walker’s January 24th speech to the Freedom Summit in Iowa prompted the seasoned political observer Michael Barone to ask, “Can a single speech at an Iowa political event change the course of a presidential nomination race?” His answer: “Maybe.”

Barone noted that a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll conducted by Ann Selzer’s firm, from January 26-29, showed Walker leading the field with 15 percent, up from only 4 percent in October.

“Reporters in Des Moines were expecting a boring Midwestern guy,” wrote Barone. “Walker proved to be an exciting Midwestern guy—raised in Iowa for seven years, he pointed out, until his pastor father moved to next-door Wisconsin.” Economics, family and faith were all part of Walker’s message, with the emphasis on the first. “He seems able to connect with people in both suburb and countryside.”

A friend of mine recently asked me, “Do you think the fact that Scott Walker did not go to college will hurt him?” My response was that it will probably be a big help to him, especially with the demographic group that will probably decide the general election—white, male, working class voters in the Midwest. This, at least, is the conclusion this writer reaches based on the astute analysis of Henry Olsen, which you can find here.

As Walker himself has said, “I wouldn’t be betting against me.”

Of course, there is the inevitable question of money, “the mother’s milk of politics.” Jeb Bush and Chris Christie are assumed to be power players in this arena. They are the major contenders, also from the gubernatorial wing of the GOP, with proven fundraising abilities. Bush is reported to be planning 60 fundraising events around the country to preempt the field with a financial “shock and awe” campaign.

James Hohmann and Kenneth P. Vogel, writing in Politico, indicate that Scott Walker is, simultaneously, going after Romney donors and making forays into Florida with a view to raising serious dollars for his primary campaign. He has also hired a new fundraiser, Jenny Drucker, former finance director at the National Republican Congressional Committee for two election cycles. She was the deputy there previously. Her former colleague at NRCC, and colleague in her new venture, Alex Lawhon, was part of John McCain’s 2008 campaign. Together they raised over $500 million over the past decade.

Walker has had plenty of opportunities to get the hang of fundraising nationally, including New York. He raised $36 million to defeat the recall initiative against him in 2012 and another $25 million for his 2014 re-election effort. He is on speaking terms with the likes of Sheldon Adelson and Foster Friess. Also, report Hohmann and Vogel, “Walker finished second in an informal straw poll of assembled donors at the annual winter meeting of the Koch brothers’ political network late last month in California.

Still, going head to head with substantive competitors such as Bush, Christie, Perry, Cruz, Paul, and Rubio will be a big challenge. But one significant factoid caught my attention in the Politico article. Walker has compiled an email list of 300,000 small donors from all 50 states. Visions of Howard Dean, Ron Paul, and, most importantly, Barack Obama!

If Walker can generate periodic and consistent cash from that donor base, he can live off the land, so to speak, while trying to assemble a few victories and a brigade of big-dollar donors and bundlers. At least that is one theory. His people maintain they do not have to have parity, say, with Bush, Christie, or Perry.

“The key, they say, is to collect enough money to be viable in the early-voting states—through March 1, 2016,” report Hohmann and Vogel. “If they can pull off a few initial victories, a gush of money will follow, they predict.”

As goes Iowa, so goes the nation? Scott Walker hopes so.

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