If Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has been divisive among his constituents in the past, his recent presidential candidacy announcement has drawn more critical eyes.
Governor Walker has come under fire for neglecting his gubernatorial duties in favor of the presidential campaign trail, as well as for his political moves, which have always caused controversy.
“We don't blame him for running, but he still has to do his job as governor,” said a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial published Tuesday. “There were signs during the recent debate over the state budget that Walker was AWOL at times.”
The Journal Sentinel criticized Walker for attempting to “win over” Republicans by “bragging” about his legislation to slash collective bargaining rights for public employee unions – an act that “cleaved the state in two” and inspired “angry protests.”
Walker’s approval rating in Wisconsin is down to 41 percent as of an April poll, though he is leading in all-important Iowa.
The Journal Sentinel editorial also criticized Walker’s delivery on promises regarding job creation saying he has lagged behind other Midwestern states and could not “come close” to the 250,000 jobs he vowed to create in his first term.
The Journal Times of Racine also noted in an editorial Monday the role Walker’s office played in the ill-received Republican attack on Wisconsin’s open records law, as well as its subsequent haste to pass the buck onto other Republicans:
A spokeswoman for Walker said on July 8 that legislative leaders notified the governor's office they were interested in making changes to the state's open records laws.
Then on Friday, Walker pointed the finger at Republican lawmakers directly while speaking on a WTMJ talk-radio program: ‘I think it was a mistake to even think about it in the budget, even though it didn't come from us.’ Walker's office earlier in the week acknowledged it helped draft the changes.
The Wisconsin GOP as a whole is also drawing attention for its accusations that the Government Accountability Board is biased against Republicans.
A Sunday Wisconsin State Journal editorial said there was “little evidence” to support the claims and criticized Republicans for citing the board’s secret investigation of Walker’s recall election campaign in 2012 as proof of anti-Republican sentiment.
The Journal noted that two out of four attorneys who approved the investigation were Republicans themselves, and the special prosecutor in charge has said he voted for Walker.