Tag Archives: third term

Scott Walker setting himself up for a third term as governor

Gov. Scott Walker is setting up himself up to run for a third term as governor.

Walker says he will wait until late 2016 or after the end of the year to make a formal decision, but he says he feels good about the progress he’s made and thinks he can build off it.

Walker, who’s never held a job outside of politics, made the comments to reporters Jan. 26 after he signed a bill at the Rock County Courthouse expanding the state’s Family Care program to the county.

Although Walker and the right-wing spin machine have been cherry-picking economic data in the state to make it appear as if Walker’s economic programs have been a success, they’ve actually failed miserably.

Wisconsin’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for 2015, released at the end of last year by the Dept. of Administration showed that the state’s General Fund deficit, as measured by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, increased in fiscal year 2015 by $414 million — from about $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion.

At the same time, his scandal-plagued “job creation” agency has lost track of millions of taxpayer dollars. Sixty percent of taxpayer funds provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Council went to Walker donors, some of whom had terrible financial records. The money was given to companies that didn’t promise to create jobs in the state. Some of them took the money and built up their operations in other states.

Wisconsin lost 10,000 jobs last year, when most states posted job gains.

Wisconsin has the nation’s fastest-shrinking middle class. Household income shrank in two-thirds of Wisconsin counties from 2009 to 2014.

The state ranks third in the nation for student loan debt.

Walker has worked with the state’s Republican leaders to restrict public access to government records and to eliminate laws and agencies designed to ferret out corruption.

Against this backdrop, Walker will have to regain the public’s confidence to run again. Walker’s approval rating dropped to 37 percent during his failed and heavily mocked presidential campaign last year. Wisconsinites were turned off by not only by the many gaffes he made on the campaign trail, but also the many months he spent outside the state campaigning for president.

Walker also racked up huge costs to Wisconsin taxpayers to provide him with transportation and around-the-clock security.

Shortly before his tight 2014 reelection, Walker said he had no interest in a White House run.

In a public-relations effort to assure Wisconsinites that he’s still interested in the state, he is currently touring the state conducting invitation-only listening sessions. He says that he’s spending time thinking about the next 20 years for the state.

Walker and his wife Tonette are selling their house in a Milwaukee suburb. His personal financial problems, including a high level of consumer credit card debt were well documented by the press during his presidential campaign.

The two-story, three-bedroom colonial in Wauwatosa is on the market for $338,000. Walker tweeted Sunday night that with his sons in college, the couple is looking at downsizing.

See also: Scott Walker’s latest approval rating

Walker’s gubernatorial campaign ends 2015 with $20K in bank

New campaign finance reports show Republican Scott Walker’s gubernatorial campaign finished 2015 with a little more than $20,257 in the bank.

Walker’s campaign released reports late last week that show the governor raised $6.4 million during the past year. He spent almost $6.7 million to finish with $20,257 on hand.

Walker does not face re-election until 2018.

He has not declared his candidacy but has hinted he plans to run for a third term. 

The governor spent much of the last year campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination. He dropped out of the race in September, leaving his candidate committee with a debt of more than $1 million as of October. 

His federal campaign finance reports aren’t due until Jan. 31.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker hints at run for a third term

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker hinted Wednesday that he might run for a third term.

Walker hasn’t said yet whether he plans to run again after his current term ends in 2018. But in a speech to the state chamber of commerce, one of his biggest backers, he seemed to open the door wider than he had before.

The governor’s political future came up when he talked about an initiative he planned to unveil in next month’s State of the State address. Walker said he wants to gather input from Wisconsin residents about the future of the state to determine what people’s shared values and goals are.

He compared the state to the growth of a tree.

“For us, we want a state that grows upward, that grows out full, that includes everyone, that lifts everyone up with freedom and prosperity, not just for today but for generations to come,” Walker said. “I’m certainly committed to that through the remainder of my term or whatever terms I’m blessed to serve thereafter.”

In September, after his failed presidential run, Walker said he had not decided whether he was going to run for a third term.

“I haven’t ruled anything out in that regard,” he said then. “I enjoy being governor. I’ll be focused on being governor the next three years and sometime between now and November of 2018, I’ll make a decision as to whether or not to seek a third term.”

Walker’s spokeswoman did not immediately return an email asking whether he had now made up his mind.

The governor has some work to do over the next three years if he hopes to be elected again. His approval ratings fell to record lows during his short-lived presidential campaign, and they haven’t rebounded much since he dropped out on Sept. 21. The latest Marquette University Law School poll released on Nov. 19 showed Walker with just 38 percent approval.

Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Brandon Weathersby pointed to the poll numbers as evidence there’s no interest in a third term for Walker.

“The voters know it wouldn’t be a blessing to see Scott Walker as governor for another four years — that’s why his approval rating continues to sink to lower and lower,” Weathersby said.

During Walker’s tenure, Wisconsin has become the most politically divided state in the nation, the middle class has shrunk more than in any other state and Wisconsin has lagged near the bottom for job growth during much of his term. Walker came nowhere near his signature promise to create 250,000 jobs during his first term, and he slashed education funding more than any other governor.

Wisconsin incomes have fallen from 2009 to 2014.

Walker was out of the state for the first few months of his second term campaigning for president, after promising that he wouldn’t run for president during his re-election campaign last year.

After his presidential campaign imploded from a lack of fundraising and lackluster poll numbers in early voting states, Walker recommitted himself to spending time in Wisconsin. He also got behind divisive measures in the Legislature, signing into law a bill that does away with secret John Doe investigations into public misconduct.

He said he intends to sign a bill next week that passed without Democratic support to do away with the state’s nonpartisan elections board, replacing it with a pair of commissions that include partisan appointees.

He tried to get rid of the state’s open records law and is likely to do so again. Next week, his Republican legislative leaders plan to go after the Legislative Audit Bureau, which predicts the cost of bills, among other duties.

Walker also plans to sign a Republican-backed measure that will rewrite the state’s campaign finance laws to allow for coordination between candidates and independent advocacy groups, double candidate contribution limits and do away with a requirement that donors disclose who they work for.

The governor also plans to get rid of the state’s civil service bill, which was adopted a century ago to rid cronyism and corruption from the process of hiring and keeping state workers.

Walker became the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall election in 2012. That recall was spurred by anger over his proposal that effectively eliminated collective bargaining for most state workers, a measure that roiled the state and brought weeks of protests as large as 100,000 people to the Capitol.

But in his speech Wednesday to the right-wing Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, which has supported the governor with massive campaign donations, Walker talked more about bringing people together than the numerous contentious measures that have been the hallmark of his tenure as governor.

“Together we need to work on saying what are our goals for the next five, 10, 15, 20, 25 years beyond,” Walker said Wednesday. “What is our goal for the state of Wisconsin? What are our multiple goals for the kind of state we want to be?”

Louis Weisberg contributed to this report.

Scott Walker burned through $90,000 a day, left campaign $1M in debt

Gov. Scott Walker burned through $90,000 a day during his short-lived race for the presidency and left his campaign about $1 million in debt.

Walker raised about $7.4 million in his campaign during the third quarter of this year and spent about $6.4 million of it before dropping out 71 days after his campaign’s official launch, according to finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Reports filed by presidential candidates in mid-October cover July through September. Walker officially entered the race in mid-July, although he traveled the country extensively the first six months of the year, partly using Wisconsin taxpayers’ money. He dropped out of the race on Sept. 21. 

Walker reportedly left the race because fundraising couldn’t keep up with his massive campaign operation, which grew to around 90 staffers. He decided to drop out rather than take on debt or significantly scale back his operation when his polling numbers went into a steep decline in key early voting states and donors began to balk, according to The Associated Press.

Frenzied spending

The Wall Street Journal reported that Walker’s debt stretches to more than $1 million beyond his cash on hand when unpaid bills are included.

That debt is not surprising.

Walker paid his campaign manager Rick Wiley nearly $52,000 for three months of work, which equals about $208,000 a year. Campaign communications director Kirsten Kukowski was paid about the same amount.

Also on the payroll were Walker’s two sons, who were paid about $1,500 a month to campaign for their dad. The recently released FEC report shows Alex Walker was paid $4,819 between June 30 and September and Matt Walker was paid $4,824.

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson told the AP that Matt and Alex had part-time jobs at campaign headquarters and returned to school when the fall semester began. Both sons were frequently by Walker’s side when he campaigned.

Walker has promised to pay back travel costs for the taxpayer-funded security detail that traveled with him as he campaigned. His administration said in mid-October that $67,000 in security costs remained unpaid.

In the wake of the Walker campaign’s crash, Wiley’s management has come under withering criticism from Republicans, particularly Walker loyalists. They contend that Wiley encouraged Walker to go too big too soon and failed to prepare him adequately for unscripted appearances.

Wiley’s alleged persona as an overgrown party boy — and not in the sense of political parties — didn’t sit well with the Christian extremists who were among Walker’s most ardent supporters.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda

Walker said recently he would not run for president again as a sitting governor, because it’s too difficult to do both. His second gubernatorial term runs through 2018.

With his presidential campaign behind him, Walker has not indicated whether he’ll seek a third term as governor. His current favorability ratings are under water: 57 percent of Wisconsin voters saying they disapprove of his job performance, while only 37 percent approve, according to a Marquette Law School poll released in September.

Many Walker loyalists contend that if not for his unbridled spending, Walker would have been able to remain in the race. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story the morning Walker quit the race insisting that his high favorability ratings outside of Wisconsin augured well for his campaign. Meanwhile, Walker’s fundraising was on par with other Republican contestants. Carly Fiorina reported raising $6.8 million during the third quarter. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio brought in $6 million. 

On the other hand, Ben Carson raised $20 million, Jeb Bush hauled in $13.4 million and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a longshot candidate, wrangled $12.2 million in donations.

On the Democratic side, where the presidential field is less crowded, Hillary Rodham Clinton raised $28 million and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders collected $26 million.

The FEC figures include only direct contributions to campaigns and not money raised by super PACs.  PACs support campaigns with TV commercials and other promotional media. According to federal law, they’re barred from coordinating their activities with campaigns, although the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on July 16 that such coordination is legal under Wisconsin law.