Democrats re­joice: Walker is fi­nally gone

The Mercury News - - News - By Scott Bauer

MADI­SON, WIS. >> Wis­con­sin Gov. Scott Walker, beloved by Repub­li­cans for push­ing through a con­ser­va­tive revo­lu­tion but so re­viled by lib­er­als that they tried to re­call him from of­fice, warned for months that he was at risk of be­ing over­whelmed by Demo­cratic anger.

He was right.

The tide that swept him out Tues­day stalled a po­lit­i­cal ca­reer that rad­i­cally trans­formed the pur­ple state and helped bring about Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s nar­row vic­tory there in 2016. For nearly eight years, Walker de­lighted con­ser­va­tives and frus­trated lib­eral op­po­nents who could never fig­ure out the right recipe to knock him off. At one point, he was seen as a po­ten­tial pres­i­den­tial fron­trun­ner.

Trump’s en­trance into the 2016 race forced Walker out. And dis­taste over Trump’s first two years as pres­i­dent con­trib­uted to de­pressed Repub­li­can turnout, and mas­sive Demo­cratic votes, in key parts of Wis­con­sin, lead­ing to Walker’s nar­row 31,000-vote loss to state ed­u­ca­tion chief Tony Evers.

Repub­li­cans who worked with Walker for years as he rose from the state Assem­bly to Mil­wau­kee County ex­ec­u­tive and then gov­er­nor in 2010 were in shock, still try­ing to process the loss. It was Walker’s first de­feat since 1990, at the age of 22. He won his first race for state Assem­bly in 2003 and never lost an­other elec­tion un­til Tues­day.

Walker con­ceded the race Wed­nes­day. Evers’ mar­gin of vic­tory stood just above the 1 per­cent­age point thresh­old that would al­low Walker to seek a re­count.

As gov­er­nor, Walker trans­formed the state Repub­li­can Party into a pow­er­ful get-out-the vote ma­chine that con­sol­i­dated GOP power. He raked in do­na­tions from across the coun­try while build­ing his own per­sonal brand.

He was part of the “Cheese­head Revo­lu­tion” that in­cluded Rep. Paul Ryan’s rise to House speaker and Reince Priebus’ lead­er­ship of the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee be­fore briefly work­ing as Trump’s chief of staff.

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