What’s Next for Scott Walker?

Sorting through the aftermath of Scott Walker’s failed presidential bid. Why he could still end up in Washington, but should refocus on Wisconsin. There’s plenty to do here.

Governor Kleefisch, anyone?

After dropping out of the presidential race, Gov. Scott Walker likely still has his eye on getting out of Wisconsin. In the wake of the news, some on Twitter suggested Scott Walker could wind up taking an appointment as Secretary of Labor. Yes, that would fit, but first a Republican must win. His exit speech had no love for current frontrunner Donald Trump, but Sen. Marco Rubio or former Gov. Jeb Bush could potentially bring our governor along on a move to Washington.

It’s a shame. Walker should try to make a go of it in Wisconsin. There’s still plenty to accomplish here. The John Doe laws, for one. The restructuring of the Government Accountability Board. Cleaning out the mess that is the WEDC. At one time Walker even promised to eradicate useless laws from Wisconsin’s books and – gasp – focus on jobs in this state. Without political donors to protect, maybe he’ll even reconsider on the Kenosha Casino.

Wisconsin may not welcome him home with open arms. His approval ratings in the state have taken a considerable dive since he went off on his world-wide-Walker tour. His campaign never felt like it was about America – it was always about Scott Walker.

The man I researched for the book Scott Walker’s Wisconsin was reared as a little boy who simply could do no wrong. He must have expected it to last forever. But eventually, the country realized his stump speeches were quite prepared, even if he could manage the stage without note cards. After two botched debate attempts, it became obvious he does not do well thinking on his feet, and with that, he drifted into the flowery wallpaper along with the other lower-tiered candidates.

Politics is a funny business. As soon as big news breaks, it’s immediate made known that everyone really knew it two days before. Several reports popped up confirming, even before his press conference, that “insiders” knew he’d be dropping out days ago. Except Walker was in Iowa just yesterday, and at least one other media outlet was saying staffers were booking timeslots this morning for later in the week.

So what happened? We won’t know for a while. And then we will, and then it will be denied, and then it will be history, and no one will really care.

Walker never had staying power as a presidential candidate. For all the fanfare around the recall, he hasn’t really been tested. Even the recall election was stacked in his favor. The Wisconsin voters of 2012 were no different demographically from the Wisconsin of 2010. If you look through his professional political history, the one thing that stands out like no other (yes, even beyond the fact that he never finished college) is that Scott Walker is a man of opportunity. He doesn’t lose because he rarely enters a race where defeat is a possibility.

Until now. Walker, it seems, met his match in the GOP Presidential Primary.



Cindy Kilkenny holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. She has written columns for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's "Purple Wisconsin." She's mother to three and grandmother to one. She and her husband live in Brookfield.