As quickly as he rose, Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) fell even faster. In a quickly announced press conference, the Wisconsin Governor announced that he is suspending his bid for the Republican nomination for the Presidency. It is a shocking and unexpected end to what was one of the most promising campaigns of the presidential season.
It is often said that the best day of a person’s candidacy is the day before they announce. That was especially true for Governor Walker. He entered the field as the frontrunner in Iowa and a leader nationally. However, the Summer of Trump quickly proved harmful to the campaign. Walker fell nationally and soon in Iowa. Walker’s debate performance was panned as he came off flat. His numbers fell after the debate and the stakes were high going into CNN’s presidential debate. Walker vowed to be more combative, but the talk proved to be just that. In the first post-debate poll, Walker was tied for last at less than half a percentage point.
Walker’s poor debate performance in Cleveland, the site of Fox’s debate, led to fundraising drying up. Walker’s initial strong fundraising led to a quick ramp-up of a national operation. However, the dedication to a national campaign, rather than one focused on the first four states, proved to be a drain on the financial resources.
Walker spun his announcement into a positive by saying that he was clearing the field of one more distraction so that more attention can be paid to frontrunner Donald Trump. “Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately,” he said in Madison, Wisconsin. Walker called on his opponents to drop out as well, “I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner. This is fundamentally important to the future of our party, and, more important, the future of the country.”
Walker’s campaign was hurt by the candidate’s verbal tic of answering “Yeah” to questions. That led to confusion over his stance on birthright citizenship and three different answers over seven days. Walker also raised eyebrows when he floated building a wall on the US-Canadian border.
The New York Times first broke the story.