Why Scott Walker could emerge from field of 15 Republicans

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is running for president, entering a crowded field of at least 15 Republican candidates for 2016. But unlike former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who ran 4 years ago, Walker is expected to go much farther in this race.

“I'm in. I'm running for President of the United States because Americans deserve a leader who will fight and win for them,” Walker posted to Facebook Monday morning.

The governor also posted a video, making his pitch to American voters.

"America needs new fresh leadership and big bold from outside of Washington to actually get things done,” Walker said. “In Wisconsin, we didn't nibble around the edges. We enacted big bold reforms, took power out of the hands of big government special interests and gave it to the hardworking taxpayers.”

A packed Waukesha Co. Expo Center awaits @ScottWalker formal announcement that he's running for president. pic.twitter.com/iTk8CzhuFu

— Timothy Blotz (@TimBlotzFOX9) July 13, 2015

Scott Walker's sons are warming up the crowd saying he embarrasses them by still wearing jean shorts and tube socks. pic.twitter.com/XkmI2UcQfZ

— Timothy Blotz (@TimBlotzFOX9) July 13, 2015

Walks and talks like a candidate

This is a campaign Scott Walker has carefully prepared for. At a recent tour of a Hudson, Wis. factory, he looked like a presidential candidate. And when he spoke to Minnesota lawmakers in April, he even sounded like one.

 “Talking about the need for growth in America, the need for more reform that will put power back in the hands of lawmakers and governors and states like Minnesota, like Wisconsin, like others out there,” he said.

What makes Walker different

Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll in 2011, but finished dead last in the Iowa Caucus just 4 months later and dropped out of the race. Pawlenty also ran for the nomination, but when Bachmann trounced him in the straw poll, he too was done.

Prof. Larry Jacobs of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs says Walker is a far stronger candidate than his neighbors to the west.

 “First, he has a clear identity that is broad. It really locks him into several different areas of the Republican Party primary goer and caucus goer,” Jacobs said. “Whereas Tim Pawlenty really struggled to find much of a base of support, Michele Bachmann was pretty pigeonholed in one area. Also, Scott Walker has a terrific national network of fundraisers.” 

What the polls say

Walker also has early and broad appeal among Republican activists. The latest polling averages by Real Clear Politics has Walker at the top of the preference list for the Iowa caucuses.

In New Hampshire, he’s second to Jeb Bush, and in South Carolina he’s tied with Bush. So, in a crowded field of 15 candidates, Prof. Jacobs believes Walker just may survive.

“There is an enormous number of folks,” Jacobs said. “But by the time you roll out 2 or 3 weeks or a month, a lot of those candidates are going to be gone and you’re going to see a pairing that’s going to look something like Jeb Bush representing the establishment and Scott Walker and maybe a few other candidates vying for the anti-establishment vote. Scott Walker will look very good in that race.”

DNC response

“With today’s announcement, Scott Walker has indicated that he intends to bring his Wisconsin brand of politics to Washington, but the reality is that he’s already brought the worst of Washington to Wisconsin,” Democratic National Committee Chair Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “To promote adherence to his rigid partisan views and to please the special interests that have backed his campaigns, Walker has pit the people of Wisconsin against each other in contentious ideological fights. He’s gutted education, refused investments in infrastructure and health care, and shuttered women’s health clinics, while pushing tax policies that have overwhelmingly benefited the wealthiest few. 

Walker is scheduled to make his big splash at 5:15 p.m. at a live event in Waukesha, Wis., just 20 miles west of Milwaukee. Fox 9 political reporter Tim Blotz is in Waukesha and will have live reports on Fox 9, on Twitter @TimBlotzFox9 and on Facebook.


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