May 28, 2015

Walker in front of pack in Iowa GOP caucus, Quinnipiac University poll finds

Governor Scott Walker delivers his fifth state of the state address. 1/13/15 (FILE PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Governor Scott Walker delivers his fifth state of the state address. 1/13/15 (FILE PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has a strong lead among the field of competitors for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination. “He’s obviously won the fresh face award,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the poll.

Walker, who has not officially entered the race yet, had the support of 21 percent of likely Iowa Caucus-goers who were questioned over an 11-day period that ended on Monday. The poll found a “four-way scramble for second place” among Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee — all of whom are declared candidates. “The four of them are roughly even,” Brown said.

Huckabee won Iowa’s 2008 Caucuses, Rand Paul helped his father campaign for president here in 2012 and Cruz gained national notice almost as soon as he joined the U.S. Senate in 2013. Rubio barely registered in Quinnipiac’s February survey of Iowa Caucus-goers, but Brown says Rubio got a bounce in Iowa from the events he held to formally enter the race in mid-April. “There seems to be a yearning within the Republicans for a new candidate, a new persona for the party,” Brown said.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush leads or is among the leaders in national polls, but Bush registered just five percent support in Quinnipiac’s survey — a seventh place position among the pack of GOP presidential hopefuls. Brown said 45 percent of those surveyed said Bush was not conservative enough. “Mr. Bush, who was the governor of Florida for eight years and was very popular with conservatives there at the time, currently has a problem with Iowa Caucus-goers,” Brown said. “By 45-39 percent they have an unfavorable view of Mr. Bush. That’s not a good thing for a candidate who’s asking these people to endorse him for president.”

Twenty-five percent of those surveyed said they would definitely NOT support Bush and 20 percent said they would not vote for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie either.

The poll has a margin of error of 3.8 percent.

O.K. Henderson, Radio Iowa

Walker meets with Michigan Republicans

Governor Scott Walker (Photo: WRN)

Governor Scott Walker (Photo: WRN)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker laid out his vision for foreign policy and improving the economy, during a stop in Michigan on Monday.

At a luncheon in Lansing, Walker told members of the Ingham County Republican Party that the nation needs a stronger voice on foreign policy in the White House. Walker accused President Barack Obama, along with his former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, of not having a “very strong approach when it comes to the rest of the world.”

Walker was also critical of Obama and Clinton on the economy. “Obama and Clinton think you grow the economy by growing Washington,” Walker said. “I think the rest of us in this country believe that you grow the economy in cities and towns and villages all across America…that people create jobs, not the government.”

Walker, who has not yet officially announced he’s a candidate for president in 2016, was among three GOP contenders in Michigan on Monday. Dr. Ben Carson and Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) were also reaching out to voters, and each spoke at different events.

Michigan Radio Network’s Ryan Hermes contributed to this report.

Wisconsin Supreme Court justices vote to replace Abrahamson

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson

Several members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court wasted little time in moving to elect a new chief justice.

In a letter filed in federal court on Wednesday, an attorney for Justice Shirley Abrahamson said an email ballot was circulated earlier in the day, which resulted in Justice Patience Roggensack being elevated to chief justice. The letter contends that four out of seven justices participated in the vote, while Abrahamson, along with Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Patrick Crooks, objected to the procedure and did not vote.

The balloting took place just hours after state election officials certified the results of the April 7 election, in which 53 percent of those voting approved a state constitutional amendment that changes the process for selecting the chief justice. Under the change, the court will vote on its leadership, instead of having the most senior member fill that role.

Abrahamson, who has served as chief justice for 19 years, sued in federal court to block the amendment. She argues it should not take effect until after her term ends in 2019. A judge declined to block the amendment from taking place though and the case is not scheduled for another hearing in federal court until mid-May.

Uncertainty surrounds leadership for Wisconsin Supreme Court

WRN file photo

WRN file photo

Members of the state Supreme Court now have the power to select their chief justice, but how or when that will happen still remains unknown.

About 53 percent of Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional amendment earlier this month that amendment will have future chief justices elected by a majority of the court, instead of the current process in which the most senior member fills that seat. The state Government Accountability Board certified the results of the April 7 election Wednesday morning.

An ongoing lawsuit from Justice Shirley Abrahamson has thrown confusion over how to proceed though. Abrahamson, who held the title of chief justice when the amendment was approved by voters, has argued that she should retain her leadership role until her current ten year term ends in 2019. She contends it was among the reasons voters reelected her in 2009. However, five of the six other justices on the court have countered that Abrahamson lost her title as soon as the election results were certified.

A federal judge declined to put the amendment on hold while Abrahamson’s lawsuit makes its way through the courts. However, officials with the state Supreme Court have not yet indicated when a vote on a new leader will take place.

Walker not feeling pressure to announce presidential plans

Gov. Scott Walker addresses an NRA convention in Tennessee.

Gov. Scott Walker addresses an NRA convention in Tennessee.

Despite several Republicans announcing they are running for president in 2016, Governor Scott Walker says his attention remains on other priorities.

Even though several Republicans have already made their plans public, Walker says he’s not feeling any pressure to push up his decision. During a stop in Appleton this week, Walker said “I’m focused on the state budget. I won’t make any decision until after the budget is complete.”
That may not happen until the end of June.

While he’s not an announced candidate, the governor hs continued to travel the country to speak with conservatives. He said he’s been getting good feedback on his message during those trips and has found that “certainly people want leaders who both fight and win for hard-working taxpayers.”

The governor is on the road again this weekend, with several stops planned in Iowa.