Ever since first-term Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived a recall election in June 2012, Republicans have treated him like a rock star – and have talked up his national potential. Governor Walker himself insists he does not have designs on 2016 and is focused on running his state. But that’s a typical comment for a governor who is running for reelection before the next presidential race starts.
Walker ignited a firestorm in early 2011 – including massive protests at the state Capitol – when he proposed limits on most collective bargaining rights for unionized public workers. The Republican-run legislature passed the bill, fueling the drive for the recall vote. But Walker won, 53 percent to 46 percent, becoming the first US governor to survive a recall.
Walker is now gearing up for his 2014 reelection race, and, if successful, he can then contemplate higher office. In a recent interview with the Wisconsin State Journal, Walker promised that the next two years will be calmer than his first two in office and pledged to focus on the state budget and job creation.
In July, Walker signed into law new restrictions on abortion that could close two of the state’s four clinics. The move was popular among conservatives but could be used against him among general election voters.
One possible hitch in any presidential plan would be if fellow Wisconsinite Paul Ryan decides to run. The two are good friends and political allies.