Here’s yet another strength of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, until now 2016’s most under appreciated candidate: an unusually good donor list for someone in his position. When Walker was faced with a recall challenge in 2012, he made contacts with wealthy national donors who supported his stance against collective-bargaining rights for public sector unions (the very stance that precipitated that recall election in the first place). He has kept in contact with those donors ever since, bolstering his chances in 2016. The Washington Post reports:
“The recall provided him with a really interesting opportunity, because he made so many connections nationally with so many donors,” said Chart Westcott, a Dallas-based hedge fund executive, who introduced Walker at the breakfast fundraiser held last month at his parents’ home in Indian Wells. “He already has this base of people who have given him six figures in the past. Not a lot of the other candidates have a national network like that.” […]“It’s a tremendous political asset and strength for him,”[former Minnesota Gov. Tim] Pawlenty said in an interview this week. “He has something I didn’t have. Because of the recall and his good work in Wisconsin, he’s got one of the largest direct-mail and Internet donor bases in the country and very established relationships with major donors. That’s going to allow him to raise a competitive amount of money to ride out the inevitable highs and lows of the campaign.”
Walker has a record of beating his enemies—and shrewdly, he continues to take on new ones that the GOP base dislikes (most recently higher ed, and those who defend its status quo). As Michael Brendan Dougherty put it, “Walker didn’t try to charm Wisconsin’s liberal establishment with some Kenny G-soft-jazz conservatism; he threw liberals into a dark cramped room and turned Metallica up to 11.” That kind of record appeals to conservatives, and it, combined with a strong donor base, makes a strong argument that he will do well in 2016, nominee or not.