header graphic for scott walker

- suspended campaign Sept. 21, 2015 -   




visits to 3rdQ '15
screen grab for Gov. Scott Walker website screen grab for Gov. Scott Walker's Our American Renewal
screen grab for Unintimidated PAC, super PAC supporting Gov. Scott Walker

Scott Walker Inc.
scottkwalker  |  @ScottWalker

...announced July 13, 2015
Office of Gov. Scott Walker
governorscottwalker  |  @GovWalker
Our American Revival

...527 organization launched Jan. 27, 2015

Unintimidated PAC

...pro-Walker super PAC announced April 16, 2015 (+)


dedicated media sites:

Walker Watch 2016

Journal Sentinel
The Scott Walker File

screen grab of Iowans for Walker website

Iowans for Walker
Draft Scott Walker 2016

Conventional Wisdom

- Conservative hero for standing firm on limiting collective bargaining for public employees, then surviving intense protests and the recall election.
- Ability to get elected in Wisconsin, a battleground state.
- Campaign-tested, having been through three campaigns in four years.
- Potential to be a strong contender in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.  Walker hails from neighboring Wisconsin, and he also lived in Plainfield, Iowa (Bremer County) for seven years through middle of third grade.
- Foreign policy.
- Has been the subject of two investigations: 1) into Milwaukee County Executive staff doing campaign work during his 2010 campaign; and 2) into coordination with outside groups during the 2012 recall campaign.
- Does not have a college degree.

Notes, Coverage and Speeches

photo 2 of gov. scott walker at the iowa ag summit
Feb. 26, 2015 - CPAC.
March 7, 2015 - Ag Summit.  
photo of Gov. Scott Walker at CPAC 2012 photo of Gov. Scott Walker at CPAC 2013 photo of Gov. Scott Walker at the Iowa Freedom Summit
Feb. 10, 2012 - Featured speaker at CPAC's
Reagan Banquet.

March 16, 2013 - At CPAC. Jan. 24, 2015 - Iowa Freedom Summit.

- Statement suspending campaign at The Edgewater in Madison, WI, Sept. 21, 2015.
- "America Uninitimidated" foreign policy speech at The Citadel in Charleston, SC, Aug. 28, 2015.
- Announcement speech at Waukesha County Expo Center in Waukesha, WI, July 13, 2015.
- Iowa Freedom Summit at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines, IA, Jan. 24, 2015.
- State of the State Address at the State Capitol in Madison, WI, Jan. 13, 2015.
- Inauguration Address, at the State Capitol in Madison, WI, Jan. 5, 2015.
- State of the State Address at the State Capitol in Madison, WI, Jan. 22, 2014.

2015 - Gov. Walker announced his candidacy on July 13 in Waukesha, declaring himself a fighter and a winner.  He was the 15th Republican to enter the race and is seen as one of the GOP frontrunners.  One of the keys to Walker's frontrunner status was his speech at Iowa Freedom Summit back on Jan. 24.  This was the first big "cattle show" of 2015, and in contrast to many of those who appeared on the stage, Walker was something of a fresh face; unlike some of the other prospect he had focused his attentions in 2013-14 on Wisconsin and winning his re-election campaign rather than making scouting trips to the early primary states.

For seven months Walker moved steadily toward a presidential campaign.  In late 2014 he brought on strategist Rick Wiley, and on Jan. 27, 2015 he launched Our American Revival, a 527 organization that seeks to "communicate a vision and work to enact policies that will lead to a more free and prosperous America by restoring power to the state and - more importantly - the people." (+)
  Walker's Our American Revival was the first official group linked to a potential candidate to open an office in Iowa (the independent Draft Ben Carson and MoveOn's Warren effort had offices earlier), and he was first out of the gate with a few legislative and local endorsements.  Also evident from early appearances is organized labor's dislike of Walker (+).  In April close aides formed the Uninitimidated PAC, a super PAC (+).  On June 18 he moved a step closer, announcing formation of a testing the waters committee.

Perhaps because of his quick rise to a position as one of the frontrunners, Walker received some savage media coverage early on, and not all of it was from the "liberal media."  On his
trade mission to the United Kingdom from Feb. 9-13, he punted a question about his views on evolution generating unfavorable coverage (+).  On Feb. 20 the Washington Post's Dana Milbank penned an opinion piece "Scott Walker's cowardice should disqualify him" after Walker stood by while Rudy Giuliani made remarks questioning whether President Obama loves America.  After the Iowa Ag Summit, The Iowa Republican's Craig Robinson penned a piece headlined "Walker: The biggest flip flopper you'll ever find?"  On March 19 in The Week, Michael Brendan Dougherty's opinion piece "Scott Walker, the gutless wonder of the 2016 presidential race" hit Walker after his pre-campaign organization OAR let consultant Liz Mair resign after she came under attack for her views on several issues and on the Iowa caucuses.  However, these incidents added up to a "tempest in a teapot," and Walker remained a very strong contender for the Republican nomination. 

Meanwhile the responsibilies of governing continued.  In his state of the state address on Jan. 13, Walker declared, "The Wisconsin comeback is working."  Walker pointed to reductions in property taxes and in income and employer taxes.  He touted a strong fiscal outlook and hit a couple of hot-button issues, saying he wants to "eliminate any requirement to use Common Core" and is working "to prepare a lawsuit challenging the newly proposed federal energy regulations."  The Democratic Party of Wisconsin responded by pointing to "the state's staggering" $2.2 billion deficit" and suggesting that “Wisconsin is in Scott Walker’s rear-view mirror as he begins his campaign for president." 
On Feb. 3, he presented his 2015-17 biennial budget; a proposed $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin system drew particular criticism (+).  Five months later, on July 12, Gov. Walker signed Wisconsin's 2015-17 state budget declaring, "With this budget, taxpayers come first."  "Wisconsin's fiscal house is in great shape," Walker stated.  Democrats meanwhile lambasted the budget as "one of the worst budgets for Wisconsin families in our state's history." (+).

On March 9 Walker signed right to work legislation (+), adding a significant feather in his cap in the view of conservatives. 
On July 20 Walker signed legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks unless the mother's life is in danger (+).  Walker also has worked on his foreign policy credentials.  In April he led a weeklong trade mission to Europe (+), in May he went on a listening tour to Israel, and in June he led a business development mission to Canada (+).

On August 17 Walker made his first foray into the policy realm (+), announcing "The Day One Patient Freedom Plan: My Plan to Repeal & Replace Obamacare."  According to the document, "The plan’s main objective is to lower costs, expand choices to individuals and families, and return power back to the individual."  On August 28 at The Citadel, Walker delivered his first major foreign policy speech, centering on the threats of radical Islamic terrorism (+).

As summer drew to a close, however, Walker's campaign was seen to be seriously lagging.  Observers pointed to a number of gaffes, most notably his difficulty expressing a clear view on birthright citizenship.  But that episode echoed his earlier ambiguity on renewable fuels.  Walker was described as bland and compared to Tim Pawlenty, another Midwestern governor who had run unsuccessfully.  To use an analogy, at first glance Walker seemed to have a nice head of hair, but then the bald spot became noticeable and not quite so attractive.  (And Walker's explanation of it being due to banging his head on a kitchen cabinet was odd).   Walker also had what was seen as an unremarkable performance in the first debate (+).  Trump's dominance, and difficulty adjusting to that, may have hurt as well.  Another analysis noted that Walker had not built on his performance at the Freedom Summit by spending time in Iowa in the succeeding months.  Prognosticators painted a fairly dire picture.  The Atlantic's Molly Ball described Walker's presidential campaign as "in free fall" (Sept. 8) and The Washington Post's Jenna Johnson described Walker as "trying desperately to jump-start his campaign" (Sept. 12). 

Walker's message became a bit more pugnacious.  He announced his "Day One Plan," which he said would "wreak havoc on Washington" (+).  On September 14 in Las Vegas, Walker announced a "Power to the People" labor plan which proposes to eliminate the National Labor Relations Board, eliminate federal employee unions, and make every state a right to work state (+). 

There was talk that Walker might refocus his campaign mostly on Iowa, but the money had dried up after the first debate, and his polling numbers had plummeted precipitously.  Thus on September 21, little more than two months after he had formally announced, Walker suspended his campaign in a press conference at a Madison hotel.  In a thinly veiled jab at Trump, Walker decried a campaign that had "drifted into personal attacks" and stated, "I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field." 

Walker's may be remembered for his oft-told story of Kohl's cash and the Kohl's curve, and his Harley riding added a bit of color.  One lesson to be learned from the Walker campaign is that, even with his executive experience and electoral success, he probably was not quite ready for the big stage.  One commentator pointed out that Walker was only five years removed from serving as Milwaukee County Executive.  In March, a local Democratic official from Milwaukee said to this reporter of Walker, who was then his ascendant phase, "That cake is not baked."

2014 - Gov. Walker focused on his re-election campaign, eschewing visits to key early states or high-profile national events.  As one of his campaign ads stated, "Wisconsin has turned around. The deficit is gone. Taxes are lower. And more people have gone back to work." (+) Democrats and their allies sought to make much of two investigations a) into Milwaukee County Executive staff doing campaign work during his 2010 campaign; and b) into coordination with outside groups during the 2012 recall campaign (see for example: American Bridge 21st Century memo from Feb. 18, 2014 +).  Walker nonetheless defeated Democratic challenger Mary Burke by 52.3 to 46.6 percent. 

2013 - Speaking at CPAC in March 2013, Walker summed up his accomplishments: "We came in and took that deficit, $3.6 billion and today it's nearly a half a billion dollar surplus.  We took a state where taxes had gone up and we not only lowered the overall tax burden for the first time in years, property taxes on a median valued home have actually gone in each of the last two years.  And when it comes to jobs, under my predecessor's term, Wisconsin had lost 133,000 jobs, and back in 2010 a survey of employers in the state showed that just 10-percent, just 10-percent of our employers thought we were headed in the right direction.  Well today we're gaining jobs and 93-percent of our employers say Wisconsin is headed in the right direction."  The Wisconsin Democratic Party has a different view; they charge Walker has violated his 2010 promise to not raise taxes, and has "raised taxes on working class families to the tune of $69.3 million - all while giving a massive $83 million tax cut to his corporate pals."  As 2013 drew to a close Walker administration was conducting a major review of the state's tax code, considering, among other ideas, the possiblity of eliminating the state's income tax.  In November, Walker came out with a book, co-written with Marc Thiessen.  Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and A Nation's Challenge (Sentinel HC, Nov. 19, 2013) prompted 2016 speculation.  Walker has made a brief visit to South Carolina and a brief visit to Iowa, but he must first win re-election in 2014; he is likely to face former Secretary of Commerce Mary Burke. 

Surviving the Storm - Opposition to Gov. Walker's proposals to limit collective bargaining rights led to dramatic protests in the State Capitol in Madison in the first part of 2011, culminating in the June 5, 2012 recall campaign, which Walker won by a margin of 53.1-percent to 46.3-percent.  It was the costliest election in Wisconsin history; the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign put total spending in the campaign to recall Walker at $81 million.  Walker emerged from the battle as a hero to conservatives.

Examples of Pre-Campaign and Campaign Communications
              527 organization

           campaign committee

 independent pro-Walker super PAC

Selected Early Videos
Our American Revival +

title? (from May 6, 2015 - 2:14 video) >
"Our American Revival" (Jan. 27, 2015 - 2:11 video) >

Governor's Office
"Blueprint for Prosperity" (March 2014 - video)
Friends of Scott Walker
"Anthem" (April 15, 2014 - :60 TV ad) >

Digital Ads

Scott Walker Inc., Our American Revival, Friends of Scott Walker
Unintimidated PAC
"Fight and Win" (Sept. 8, 2015 - TV ad, IA) >

Print Ad
Full-page ad in Sept. 14, 2015 Des Moines Register

Digital Ads
Unintimidated PAC

thumbnail of Gov. Scott Walker's book UnintimidatedScott Walker with Marc Thiessen.  Nov. 19, 2013.  UNINTIMIDATED: A Governor's Story and A Nation's Challenge.  New York: Sentinel HC.
"In Unintimidated, Governor Walker tells the story of his fight to save Wisconsin from a $3.6 billion budget deficit while simultaneously improving the state’s schools and public infrastructure. He describes how he stood for his convictions against enormous political pressure and personal attacks. He explains how he knew his reforms would work, based on his experience as a local official."

Dusan Harminc and Matt Mullins.  FORWARD. [documentary film]. Stumptown Films.
an activist-level view of the uprising that swept state senators out of office, triggered the third governor recall election in American history, and inspired the Ocupy movement that swept the country.  This film uses the reflections of people involved in the protests of winter 2011 to show what galvanized non-radicals into a movement that quickly drew international attention to Madison..."

Analyses of Campaign Difficulties
Betsy Woodruff. "Scott Walker Is a 'Yes' Man - and It's Killing His Campaign."  The Daily Beast.  Sept. 2, 2015.
Molly Ball.  "Can Scott Walker Save Himself?"  The Atlantic.  Sept. 8, 2015.
Katie Glueck and Daniel Strauss.  "Scott Walker craters - but not because of Trump."  Politico.  Sept. 11, 2015.
Jenna Johnson.  "Scott Walker cancels GOP speeches to spend time in Iowa, South Carolina." The Washington Post.  Sept. 12, 2015.

Early Articles
Tim Alberta.  "He Shall Not Be Moved."  National Journal.  June 21, 2014.
Alec MacGillis.  "The Unelectable Whiteness of Scott Walker."  The New Republic.  June 15, 2014 and Alec MacGillis.  "A Reply To Scott Walker, Rush Limbaugh Et Al. About A Controversial Cover Story"  The New Republic.  June 24, 2014.

American Bridge 21st Century PAC: Scott Walker.
screen grab for Gov. Scott Walker's 2014 re-election campaign
Friends of Scott Walker
(2014 re-elect)
scottwalkerforgovernor  |
Scott Walker Inc. Testing the Waters

...announced June 18, 2015

  this page last revised September 24, 2015