Melissa Miller, 202-875-9188
Speaker Paul Ryan’s retirement announcement earlier last week made clear how precarious the reelection prospects are for his fellow Wisconsinite, Governor Scott Walker.
National observers are saying Walker “may face an expiration date in November,” and “is likely facing his most arduous electoral challenge to date” as he “faces the headwinds of a Trump presidency with negative approval ratings.”
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Republicans “worry the tide may be turning on them,” saying “No time is ever a good time to lose the speaker of the House, in Congress, from the state of Wisconsin,” and that recent election results in the state were “the canary in the cave, a signal, and the canary died.”
Key excerpts from recent coverage are below:
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Remember GOP’s Cheesehead Revolution? As Ryan leaves, Wisconsin’s national influence wanes
Paul Ryan is retiring as House Speaker.
Reince Priebus left the White House last summer.
If Gov. Scott Walker loses this fall – one possible outcome of a Democratic wave – then Wisconsin’s famous “Big Three,” its troika of Republican stars, will be gone from the political game a few short years after mastering it.
…Now one (Priebus) has left the stage. Another (Ryan) says he’ll never run for office again. And the third, Walker, faces the headwinds of a Trump presidency with negative approval ratings.
… “No time is ever a good time to lose the speaker of the House, in Congress, from the state of Wisconsin. No time is a good time to lose the Republican Party chairman of the national committee, because that means a lot to us, too. But you change, you adapt. I think we understand the challenges that are ahead of us,” Keith Gilkes, a GOP strategist and Walker adviser, said Thursday night at a Wispolitics.com forum in Madison.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is leaving. Former state chairman Reince Priebus is gone. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), the big cheese, stands alone — and may face an expiration date in November.
…“The Supreme Court race was the canary in the cave, a signal, and the canary died, so now we have to figure things out,” Brandon Scholz, a Wisconsin Republican strategist with ties to Walker and Ryan, told TPM. “That was a big wakeup call.”
And it came on the heels of a big Democratic upset in a northwestern Wisconsin state senate seat that Democrats hadn’t held in 17 years.
Those results rattled Republicans across the state, who worry the tide may be turning on them after an impressive eight-year run.
…But Walker is the big prize. He saw his standing plummet in the state after his failed presidential run, and while his numbers have bounced back he’s still upside down in most recent polling of the state.
US News: After Ryan, Dems Eye Walker
It’s pretty clear why. Walker, seeking a third term in November, is likely facing his most arduous electoral challenge to date. And that’s saying something, given the unprecedented recall election effort that he staved off in 2012.
…Nevertheless, Walker’s numbers aren’t good. His approval rating stands at just 43 percent, according to a new Morning Consult survey, placing him in the bottom 10 governors in the country. Walker was diminished following the unceremonious end to his 2016 presidential campaign and he might be suffering from voter fatigue as the Wisconsin electorate sniffs around for something new.
Given the series of events in Wisconsin, it’s easy to read why Democrats feel emboldened about their prospects of taking back the governorship. Taking over Ryan’s 1st Congressional District would be an impressive feat, but upending Walker would essentially amount to an end of a conservative era that dawned during the rise of the tea party.