Walker urged not to sign Wisconsin GOP bills
MADISON, Wis. — A bipartisan group of political figures appealed to Gov. Scott Walker to avoid staining his legacy and behaving like a sore loser by signing legislation that would weaken the powers of the Democrat who defeated him.
Rather than notching another partisan victory in his final weeks in office, they said, Walker should think bigger. Think of your recently deceased father, they pleaded. Think of former President George H.W. Bush. Think of Christ.
“You can have a long, successful career ahead,” longtime Republican and major GOP donor Sheldon Lubar wrote to Walker in an email. “Don’t stain it by this personal, poor-loser action. Ask yourself, what would my father say, what would the greatest man who ever lived, Jesus Christ, say.”
Walker gave no signs Thursday of tipping his hand. A spokesman said only that he was reviewing the bills. He generally has been supportive of the measures in the past.
The choice is whether to satisfy fellow Republicans, who passed the bills over objections from Democrats, or strike them down to let his successor, Tony Evers, take office under the same rules in place when Walker was in charge.
“It just gets back to, what does he want to be remembered for,” Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach said. “It’s time to set aside your political beliefs and do what’s best for your state.”
At 51, Walker is leaving office at a young age. He might want to stay active in Walker Wisconsin politics, perhaps to run for the U.S. Senate in 2022, though it’s not clear how his political prospects would be affected by signing the legislation. Walker won three elections pursuing a strongly conservative agenda, and he nearly won re-election last month despite heavy Democratic turnout.
It actually was Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, not Walker, who was the driving force behind the bills. The measures make it more difficult for Evers to undo the legacy of Walker and Republicans, who have had full control of Wisconsin’s government for eight years.
The GOP power grab in Wisconsin comes as Michigan Republicans vote on taking action before a Democratic governor takes over in that state. North Carolina lawmakers took similar steps two years ago.