Des Moines, Iowa — Scott Walker on Saturday told a crowd in Iowa that his accomplishments in neighboring Wisconsin offer a national model for the Republican party. He tacitly argued that he is the leader who can translate his state-level accomplishments to meaningful change on the federal level by making him their presidential nominee.
His message: “Go big and go bold.” That’s what he’s done in Wisconsin, and conservatives should not be afraid to do the same on the national level, he said.
“Maybe that’s why I won the race for governor three times in the last four years,” Walker said, in his low-key manner. “Three times, mind you, in a state that hasn’t gone Republican for president since I was in high school more than 30 years ago . . . If you’re not afraid to go big and go bold, you can actually get results. You can applaud for that. And if you get the job done, the voters will actually stand up with you.”
The crowd here at the Iowa Freedom Summit is sizing up several potential 2016 contenders today including Walker, Texas senator Ted Cruz, former Texas governor Rick Perry, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
Walker talked about staring down mass protests in Madison, Wis., prompted by his passage of reforms to public-employee collective-bargaining laws, and fielding death threats that targeted not only himself but his wife and his sons.
He is gearing up for a presidential bid: He has hired a campaign manager, Rick Wiley, and on Friday, the Des Moines Register reported that he is bringing on David Polyansky, who recently served as a senior strategist to newly elected senator Joni Ernst and who was on hand watching Walker’s remarks today. Polyansky previously worked as an aide for Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012. Both went on to win the Iowa caucuses.
Walker’s challenge will be showing the party’s top-dollar donors that his victories at the state level can translate into a win on the national level. Today was a first attempt.