Scott Walker Makes His Biggest 2016 Move Yet
Call it the Week of Walker.
With rave reviews from Iowa in his pocket, the Wisconsin governor is advancing his likely 2016 presidential run by launching a new political organization that will allow him to raise large amounts of cash and sharpen his campaign message.
Several presidential hopefuls have established their own political committees that help them fundraise and travel before officially entering the race. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie launched his leadership PAC earlier this week. But Walker’s organization, called "Our American Revival", is being established as a 527 organization, or a tax-exempt non-profit, which has fewer financial restrictions, giving the potential campaign greater flexibility.
Walker aide Rick Wiley, a former RNC political director, confirmed to RCP that he is leading the new group. The Washington Post first reported the news. Walker used the phrase “our American revival” in his response to the president’s State of the Union address and in Iowa over the weekend.
The new organization has been in the works for several weeks as part of Walker’s gear-up to a national campaign that included the hiring of top talent like Wiley. But its launch comes on the heels of a successful Iowa swing, in which the mild-mannered governor defied expectations by delivering a rousing speech to Hawkeye State conservatives at a gathering hosted by Rep. Steve King.
The governor has also recently hired Republican strategist David Polyansky to be his political adviser in Iowa, the Des Moines Register reported.
Walker’s resume is central to his presidential pitch as a candidate who can appeal to both ends of the Republican Party’s spectrum. Advisors and political operatives say that Walker can position himself a consensus candidate and move ahead of the pack by being the second-favorite choice for voters hoping for a GOP victory in 2016.
In Iowa, Walker highlighted his credentials as a blue-state governor who took on the unions and won. “If you are not afraid to go big and bold, you can actually get results,” he told the crowd on Saturday. The governor also touted the fact that he has been elected three times in the past four years -- "Three times, mind you, in a state that hasn't gone Republican for president since I was in high school more than 30 years ago. How about that?” he said.
The governor isn’t expected to make an official presidential announcement for another couple of months, as he is focusing on getting a budget passed through his state legislature. But Walker’s political schedule is picking up in the meantime. He will make his first campaign visit to the early voting state of New Hampshire in March. He will travel across the pond next month to lead a trade mission to the U.K., as several other presidential hopefuls have done or are planning to do.