Democrats rejoice: Walker is finally gone
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.