Scott Walker Joins the 2016 Race

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker officially joined the 2016 Republican presidential race on Monday, which makes him the 15th major Republican to announce so far. Even more confusing for voters who are already having such a hard time remembering who the candidates are that Donald Trump is nearly leading the polls, Walker’s platform is not that different from the majority of his opponents’. In a video released on his campaign website today, Walker says that he plans to run as a conservative Washington outsider who wants to keep government small, which sounds nearly identical to the promise of almost every single Republican in the field. 

Walker hopes that his own success story — winning a tough recall election despite the anger of many Wisconsin labor groups in a blue state, with the help of many a conservative group and donor, and a following reelection win — will help make him stand out. 

The Koch brothers, who provided massive financial help to the governor during his recall, signaled in April that Walker was one of their favorite 2016 candidates, according to the New York Times. David Koch joked to fellow donors, “When the primaries are over and Scott Walker gets the nomination …”

Scott Walker is doing well in Iowa, where his brand of Midwestern fiscal hawkishness plays well, but Walker’s campaign has also been dealing with a few complications that may have pushed back his campaign announcement to a less than advantageous date, far after much of the competition. For the past few months, Walker has been notably absent from the overbearing presentness of much of the 2016 race, as Marin Cogan pointed out on Daily Intelligencer in May. “The reduced public schedule,” she wrote, “gave him time to work behind the scenes to compensate for weaknesses that could, if unchecked, threaten his campaign.”

In Wisconsin, Walker’s approval rating has been dropping in a pattern that should be familiar to other governors toying with the presidency this year, like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Fifty-nine percent of Wisconsin residents said they did not want Walker to run for president at the end of April. Another poll from April has Hillary Clinton beating Walker by 12 points in a hypothetical general election face-off in his state.