Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

The Walker withdrawal – analysis


I should start by congratulating Congressman Mark Green. Barring some unforeseen disaster, he will be the Republican Party nominee for governor, and likely the next governor of Wisconsin.

The most immediate impact of Walker’s withdrawal will be on fundraising. It doesn’t necessarily follow that all of Walker’s contributors will suddenly start giving to Green. But it does free contributors who were reluctant to give to a campaign for governor because of the primary to start giving now.

It also means that Green can start drawing on all of the resources of the state party to defeat Governor Doyle. It’s an overrated asset, but it is an asset.

It also means Green will not have to compete three ways for the Milwaukee media market, crucial to a Republican victory. Here candidate Walker had an advantage over Green, and had the primary campaign continued Green would have found himself behind in getting support in Southeastern Wisconsin.

This is not to say that Green doesn’t have some work to do in this area. His support for the proposed ethanol mandate certainly earned him some distrust from the Party’s conservative base, and he will need the conservatives if he is to win this November.

The GOP split has become both a regional and philosophical split, and it remains to be seen whether Green can unite the party. He will need to reach out to Walker supporters, talk radio, and yes, even bloggers. I would strongly advise against Green supporters from taking a victory lap.

Walker’s withdrawal will have an impact on another statewide race, one that is not likely to see an end before September, the Bucher – Van Hollen race. With the withdrawal of Walker, Southeastern Wisconsin conservatives will have much less of a motivation to vote this September. That can only hurt Bucher, who will have to adjust his vote targeting numbers and campaign more heavily away from his home base.

Some pundits will say Walker’s withdrawal will mean conservatives will be freed up to vote in the Democratic primary in Milwaukee County, possibly saving Democrat State Senator Jeff Plale and Democrat Sheriff David Clarke. Let me warn those pundits that cross-over voting in supposedly open primary Wisconsin almost never happens, and that Clarke is still in big trouble (Plale less so). I am still predicting a Bobot win, unless Clarke drops the facade of running as a Democrat and runs as an independent.

And whomever Republicans get to run against Senator Herb Kohl had better not plan on any support from the Republican Party. Should Tim Michels run again, he should remember his experience from last time and not count on any party funding. With the withdrawal of Walker, party officials may make promises they aren’t willing to keep while they direct all efforts towards defeating Doyle. It’s race prioritizing.

There will be some who are upset that the national party may have had a hand in making up Walker’s mind for him, but these are the necessary things parties do to win. And Walker could have told them no, and continued to campaign.

But as we saw from last May, it was likely that there would be only one candidate long before the September primary. This time it is Congressman Mark Green. And we should pledge him our support in the coming campaign, while being free to criticize and, yes, even make fun of, his candidacy in the coming months.

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