Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will end his presidential campaign today, the New York Times reported. The onetime leader in Iowa and national polling has been sinking for months and dropped to low single digits in national surveys following the first two Republican debates. Although Walker racked up a bunch of early Iowa endorsements in the winter and spring, I always felt he might retrace the path of Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who quit the race four years ago after a disappointing Ames Straw Poll showing.
Part of me feels this humiliating end to a once-promising campaign couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. But the other part of me is worried, because Walker was running an incompetent campaign, and his exit means some more competent candidate may end up becoming the consensus establishment choice: perhaps Carly Fiorina, Senator Marco Rubio, or my worst fear for the general election, Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Any comments about the Republican presidential race are welcome in this thread. I will update this post later with reaction to Walker’s decision.
UPDATE: Ryan Foley points out that Walker quit the GOP primary race for Wisconsin governor early before the 2006 campaign, “a move that endeared him to the faithful and helped pave [the] way for [his] later rise.” The GOP has nominated failed candidates before (Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney), though Rick Perry’s experience shows second chances aren’t a given for one-touted candidates who under-performed.
Further updates are after the jump, including highlights from Walker’s press conference and the list of high-profile Iowa endorsers his campaign rolled out in August. They include nine current state senators and six state representatives, some of whom came on board with Walker much earlier in the year.Continue Reading...