Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush admires Scott Walker’s workmanlike approach to governing so much that he endorsed Walker’s Republican candidacy for Wisconsin governor.
Walker, a key government leader as Milwaukee County executive, has been stockpiling endorsements behind a swell of machine and grass-roots support, also received an enthusiastic nod from Bush, according to ABC News.
"The guy is a fantastic candidate," Bush told ABC. "The event that we did together, he gave a stump speech that sounded like it was the last three days of the campaign. I mean, he was on fire. It was, it was, he's the real deal."
Bush isn’t alone in his plaudits. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is similarly impressed with Walker, whose main opponent in the Sept. 14 primary is former Congressman Mark Neumann. Gingrich also has made campaign appearances with Walker.
Props for Walker emanate throughout the Dairy State, where incumbent Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle is not running for re-election.
“Make no mistake. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is the candidate of choice for the Wisconsin GOP machinery,” writes Steve Jagler, executive editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. “Walker already has received the endorsement of the Milwaukee, Jackson, Eau Claire and Douglas County Republican parties and has been endorsed by more than 75 percent of the current county GOP chairs statewide, as well as every previous state GOP chair. Walker also has been endorsed by more than 80 percent of current Republican state legislators.
“That's why Walker will likely receive the state GOP's endorsement when the party convenes in Milwaukee on Saturday, May 22,” Jagler wrote in his blog Thursday, adding that Neumann is not seeking that endorsement.
Walker’s campaign attracts popular support, too. Ironically, his persona echoes that of another surging Republican, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, on a couple of counts besides their shared first names.
Like Brown, the 42-year-old Walker believes in working his vehicles hard, such as his 1998 Saturn with more than 100,000 miles on it, although that’s still half of what Brown has on the 2005 pickup that is one of his signatures.
Another brown Walker has in his arsenal is the campaign message of a simple guy who "packs the same brown-bag lunch before heading to the office to save money: two ham and cheese sandwiches on wheat with mayo."
revolves around that brown bag theme as it proclaims three tenets:
- “Don't spend more than you have.”
- “Smaller government is better government.
- “People create jobs, not government."
The likely Democratic candidate is Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who slightly trails the Republicans in a recent Rasmussen Reports poll of likely voters. The April 23 poll found that, if Walker and Barrett squared off, the Republican would snag 46 percent of the vote and the Democrat, 44 percent. In a Neumann-Barrett contest, Neumann led by the same percentages.
An ABC report underscores the potential impact of the race, saying, “The Wisconsin governor's race is one of the 2010 contests that could have implications in the 2012 White House race. Much more so than senators, governors tend to command the kind of state political machinery that can make a difference in a presidential contest.
“Although President Obama carried the state by 14 points over John McCain in 2008, the state was a major battleground in 2004 when John Kerry won the state by 1 percent and in 2000 when Al Gore carried the state by less than 1 percent, a mere 5,708 votes,” ABC reported.
Walker sees a lot at stake for the citizens of his state, as well. The brown bags scattered across his websites feature a variety of messages, including, "We spent $780 billion on a stimulus plan and all I got was this brown bag."
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