Scarcely two months after announcing his intent to seek the GOP nomination, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker suspended his campaign for the White House on Monday
Exiting under the heavy weight of evaporating campaign funds and a rising tide of anti-establishment fervor pervading the nation, Walker departed the race with a personal appeal to fellow GOP contenders to carefully examine their role in and consider following his departure to narrow the field and target GOP front-runner, Donald Trump.
“Today I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately. I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same, so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner.”
An early darling of conservatives, Walker brought to the GOP field an impressive resume: He won election in Wisconsin, survived a brutal fight with labor unions and a re-call election to be re-elected by a slightly wider margin and was returned to the governor’s mansion in 2014.
On the national scene, Walker tripped: Ambushed by the media with questions on evolution and Mr. Obama’s faith, Walker further faltered when confronted with questions on ethanol, immigration and suggested he would build a wall on the border with Canada.
Barely able to qualify for the September 16 CNN debate, Walker occupied less than nine minutes before the nationally-televised audience, which surpassed 22 million viewers.
Once on the national stage, Walker’s campaign struggled to gain traction. Although Walker campaigned as an “outsider” frequently targeting Washington’s elite class, Walker only briefly held a significant percentage of opinion polls, a high of 15%; however, he slipped precipitously after July.
An effective governor, Walker did indeed fail to articulate a conservative message and was unable to transform a successful record as governor to national politics. Flunking the key test of delivering a consistent message, Walker was unable to build broad and firm support among his party’s voters unlike a handful of his competitors.
Additionally, Walker experienced the consequences of campaign-trail missteps: They lead directly to a loss of committed donors; this is a bulwark not easily overcome in presidential politics.
At age 47, we may not have seen the end of Mr. Walker.
[New York Times] [Photo courtesy Forbes]