October 5, 2015

Walker campaign head details financial troubles

Rick Wiley (Photo: WRN)

Rick Wiley (Photo: WRN)

A bleak financial outlook appears to have been a main reason behind Governor Scott Walker abandoning his presidential campaign.

Walker abruptly exited the 2016 race for the Republican nomination on Monday, amid reports that his campaign was facing mounting debt and that fundraising had trailed off. The governor’s poll numbers had been spiraling downward after the first GOP debate in August. He then fell below the one percent mark after a debate earlier this month.

In interviews with multiple national outlets, campaign manager Rick Wiley said the governor had been struggling with fundraising since the August debate in Ohio. Wiley told Politico that a fundraising swing through Texas was supposed to raise a half million dollars, but only brought in $184,000. A fundraising mailer also ended up costing more to send out that in brought in. The governor only had about a million dollars on hand, Wiley said

Wiley said he proposed a plan that would see the governor scale back his national staff to about 20 people, while pulling back to focus on Iowa. Even with the cuts, Wiley warned raising enough money to sustain the campaign at that level could be difficult. “I presented it to him and then I said, ‘You know, it’s going to be tough right now with the environment that we’re in for us to raise enough to sustain this plan,'” Politico reported.

Walker has kept a low profile since making the announcement on Monday that he was leaving the race. On Tuesday, his office tweeted a photo of him meeting with staff at the Capitol. The governor was also expected to speak with campaign donors today about his decision to leave the race.

Walker faces long road to rebuild reputation in Wisconsin

Charles Franklin

Charles Franklin

Governor Scott Walker will have some relationships to repair, after his quest to win the Republican nomination came to an unexpected end on Monday.

The governor spent much of the year on the campaign trail, as he explored, and then eventually declared, his presidential bid. He’s drawn criticism as well for not being present during much of the debate over the state budget and for comments he made about sometimes being at odds with Republican leadership in the Legislature. Walker also suffered a hit in his statewide support, with a Marquette University Law School poll released in August showing him with just a 39 percent approval rating.

Poll director Charles Franklin said the governor has some “fences to mend” here in the state, as he shifts his focus away from the campaign. He still has more than three years left in his term, although Franklin added “whether the damage has been temporary or permanent, we’ll have to see.”

Franklin said any political recovery will take some time and some effort from Walker, along with voters being willing to come back and support him.

As for the factors leading up to the end of Walker’s presidential hopes, Franklin said the news Monday caught many people off guard. While Walker had been steadily falling in the polls, he says most observers though the governor had enough money to hang on until at least the Iowa Caucuses in February. That turned out not to be the case though, with reports circulating in recent days that his campaign was in financial trouble.

Walker did have a super PAC backing his campaign that raised over $20 million last spring. However, that money could not be used to pay for campaign staff expenses, which can increase quickly as a campaign grows. Franklin noted previous candidates have managed to survive with bad poll numbers, but he expects Walker ran in to a “financial crisis” when he started to lose donors and could no longer support the staff he brought in earlier in the campaign.

Overall, Franklin sees the end of the campaign as a “remarkably short collapse” for someone who had been considered a top tier candidate just earlier this year. “Just from the beginning of July until now, he dropped from second place in the teens to literally an asterisk at less than one percent in the polling.”

Walker expected to drop out of 2016 presidential race

091615WalkerCNNGovernor Scott Walker is expected to announce Monday evening that he’s dropping out of the 2016 race for the Republican presidential nomination. According to a report in the New York Times, the Wisconsin governor has determined he “no longer has a path” to win the nomination, and has decided to abandon his campaign.

The move comes just a day after a CNN/ORC poll had the governor with less than 0.5 percent support among Republican voters nationwide, coming in at 11th in the crowded field of candidates seeking the GOP nomination. Walker’s polling numbers have seen a rapid decline in the past month, following a pair of debate performances that saw him struggle to get a word in and attract attention to his campaign.

Walker’s campaign has called a press conference for 5 p.m. at a downtown Madison hotel. WRN will have a reporter at the event, with updates to come this evening.

Walker at less than 1% in new CNN poll

Gov. Walker speaks during the second GOP debate at the Reagan Library.

Gov. Walker speaks during the second GOP debate at the Reagan Library.

Interest in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s presidential campaign has bottomed out, according to a new national poll.

Walker was one of five Republican presidential candidates who received less than one-half of 1 percentage point support in the latest CNN/ORC poll. Walker had polled at 5% in the previous such poll earlier this month.

The latest ranking comes in the wake of Walker’s announced intention to redouble his campaign efforts in Iowa, hoping to finish well in the Iowa Caucuses on February 1st.

The survey was conducted September 17-19, just after 23 million viewers witnessed another debate performance in which Walker once again failed to set himself apart from the pack of GOP candidates.

The poll – of a mere 1,006 adult Americans, including 924 registered voters – found that real estate tycoon Donald Trump remains the GOP front-runner with 24% support, although that’s 8 points less than the poll from earlier in the month, when he was at 32%.

Businesswoman Carly Fiorina ranked second with 15% support, a big jump from 3% in early September, and one percentage point ahead of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s 14%. Carson dropped 5 percentage points from the previous poll.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was ranked in fourth place with 11% support, up from 3% previously.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush polled at 9%, followed by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee at 6% each, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky at 4%, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at 3%, Ohio Governor John Kasich at 2% and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 1%.

Joining Walker in flatline territory with less than 1 percentage point support: former governors Jim Gilmore of Virginia and George Pataki of New York, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Of those surveyed, 444 identified as Republicans or Republican-leaning independents. The margin of error with the Republican results is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Walker ‘doubling down’ in Iowa (AUDIO)

Scott Walker in Iowa. (Photo: Radio Iowa)

Gov. Scott Walker in Iowa. (Photo: Radio Iowa)

Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker is addressing his sliding poll numbers in Iowa and elsewhere with a reset of his campaign schedule.

“We’re doubling-down in Iowa,” Walker told Radio Iowa during a telephone interview. “We have to do well in Iowa.”

The February 1 Iowa Caucuses are the kick-off contest of the 2016 presidential campaign. Walker has so far made stops in 30 of Iowa’s 99 counties and he wants to wrap up that statewide tour to all 99 counties as quickly as possible.

“We just announced this week 99 county chairs and we’re going to get right down to 1600 precinct chairs,” Walker said, “because we understand that grassroots organization ultimately makes the difference in the Iowa Caucuses.”

Walker vaulted to the top of the polls in Iowa after a break-out performance at Steve King’s Freedom Summit in January. But Walker was an infrequent visitor to the state in the months that followed. He didn’t become an “official” candidate until July. Now, with about four and a half months left in the Iowa Caucus campaign, Walker is betting the farm on a strong finish here.

“Early state voters aren’t just looking at TV ads. They’re not just looking at national media coverage. What they’re looking for and what I’ve heard when I’ve been in Iowa is they want to know what are your plans, what are the details and are you going to spend the time necessary to talk to voters,” Walker said. “We’re absolutely vested in that. We’re going to do that and we think that’s the key to winning.”

Walker and his campaign manager held a conference call Thursday to reassure about 80 key donors that adjustments were being made to the campaign. A few hours later, Walker talked by phone with Radio Iowa as he walked through O’Hare Airport, making his way back to the Midwest after Wednesday night’s debate in California.

“We’ve got a plan to wreak havoc on Washington and we’ve got the backbone and experience to do it,” Walker said when asked about the call.

Candidates like Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina seem to appeal to grassroots Republican voters who are angry with the party’s establishment for failing to follow through on campaign promises of the past. According to Walker, though, voters are motivated by a “sense of urgency” rather than anger.

“They want politicians, they want candidates who listen to what they say and are willing to act on it, not just say the right things, but also have the capacity to act on it,” Walker said. “I think what gives us strength in this race is nobody has to wonder what we’d do when we take on Washington.”

And Walker points to the budget cuts he enacted as Wisconsin’s governor and the laws he signed that rolled back collective bargaining rights as examples of the kind of proposals he’d push as president. Walker said now, once a week, he’ll be releasing detailed policy statements on a variety of issues — and his tax cut plan is coming soon.

AUDIO: Gov. Scott Walker talks with Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson