Walker to speak at fundraiser in Iowa, stoking 2016 talk
Gov. to speak at fundraiser in Iowa on Thursday
Gov. Scott Walker has been answering questions recently about his political ambitions after some high-profile speeches around the country.
Walker appeared at the Conservative Political Action Committee in March and said he wasn’t looking for another job.
“I had to work extremely hard two times in the last two years to be governor,” says Walker. “I love being governor. There’s no better job in America and as long as the people of Wisconsin want me to be governor, I will continue to be governor.”
Walker will be giving another important speech at a Republican Party fundraiser in Polk County, Iowa Thursday. This is Walker’s third out-of-state stop this week including visits to Connecticut and New York.
Interest in having Walker speak at events started after the Collective Bargaining Bill sparked protest from the left and praise from the right, making him a mentioned candidate for a much higher office.
“This is part of a series of speaking events that the governor has done,” says Charles Franklin, Marquette law professor. “He was in Nevada fairly recently, which is also an early-caucus state.”
According to Franklin, these are the steps that a potential candidate would take.
“Right now, if you put the governor on a polling list for president, even in Wisconsin, he doesn’t make the top, sitting third to Congressman Paul Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio,” says Franklin. "But that doesn’t mean to count him out.”
“In the national polling he polls well on the list, but a number of pundits rate him as a much more plausible candidate,” says Franklin. “They’re looking at a candidate that especially appeals to the more conservative wing of the party.”
“I can assure you that people are talking to him as we speak and hoping that he will do it,” says Cam Sutton, chair of the Rob Kelley Club, the Iowa group that is bringing Walker to Iowa.
Sutton says there’s a reason some 600 people are expected for his speech.
“I have gotten to know the governor. I know what he stands for. I go back to my word 'genuine,'” says Sutton. “There’s nothing fake about him and I think that’s what the American people are looking for.”
But the chair of the Polk County Democrats doesn’t see it that way and doesn’t think Iowans will either.
“I think they probably have a pretty good view of him because he is close and I would think probably most Iowans would view him as a divisive leader so they would have more of an understanding of what he offers,” says Tom Henderson, chair of the Polk County Democratic Party.
“I know divisive leaders always think they can ignite their base and maybe that’s what he thinks his strength is but as a nation I think we need to have a president to bring us together,” says Henderson.
The visit is drawing concern from the Wisconsin Democrats who say the governor is looking too far down the road.
“I think people feel like, look governor, go to Iowa County instead of the state of Iowa,” says Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha.
“I think he’s making a key mistake here and you should never take for granted what’s at home,” says Barca. “It’s great to be looking at higher ambitions if you think it’s there for you but you have to attend to business at hand.”
At hand first is the 2014 gubernatorial election before any presidential campaign would begin, but Walker in the White House is sure to get a lot of discussion before then.
“At this point, I think he’s running for re-election on the idea that I’m going to be the governor of Wisconsin for the next four years after the first term,” says Sutton.
Sutton says a lot of people will be talking about the fact that Walker is a great governor but that he would also make a great president.
Walker told reporters last week that Iowa was an “easy trip” that he could make after putting in a day's work in Wisconsin. The governor does have two events scheduled in Appleton and Milwaukee tomorrow morning but this isn’t the end of his national appearances.
Walker already has two more high-profile events scheduled in California in June and July.
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