Friends of Scott Walker
National media can present a challenge to Walker's reelection campaign.
Since making the publicity rounds last fall for his book about the Wisconsin Capitol protests, when he was pressed on his presidential aspirations on Morning Joe, CNN and PBS NewsHour, Gov. Scott Walker is now on the radar of national media outlets.
And when emails from Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker's former Milwaukee County aide who was convicted of misconduct, are released Wednesday, Walker will likely attract more national scrutiny, regardless of what the thousands of emails and hundreds of documents reveal.
"The more seriously the press takes to Gov. Walker as a presidential candidate, the more the race, the emails, could be taken seriously," says Charles Franklin, Marquette Law School Poll director and political scientist.
In February, The Daily Beast and Politico explored Walker's ability to lead the Republican Party in 2016 and The New York Times detailed his reelection campaign in a report on Midwestern gubernatorial races. Another Politico story took a look at Walker's proposed tax cuts and resistance to them in the state Legislature. And Walker got some ink himself in The Washington Post with an October op-ed that ran under the headline, "What Wisconsin can teach Washington."
This higher profile has helped with the governor's fundraising, according to Emma Roller (a Daily Cardinal alum), who wrote recently in Slate that Walker's recall victory helped him foster relationships with national conservative donors and party leaders.
Barry Burden, a political science professor at UW-Madison, says Walker's recall victory and the continued speculation over a presidential run could help the governor's reelection campaign.
"There are people ... who want to cozy up to people who look like national candidates," says Burden. "It's not going to be hard to get prominent Republicans from other states to campaign on his behalf."
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal both campaigned for Walker in Wisconsin during the 2012 recall election. Walker, in turn, has hit the trail for out-of-state Republican candidates, including Nebraskan gubernatorial hopeful Pete Ricketts, whose family gave over $400,000 to Walker's recall campaign.
But the national media can also present a challenge to Walker's reelection campaign, says Franklin. When pundits ponder his chances in 2016, or make note of high profile out-of-state fundraising trips, it can lead to greater scrutiny of Walker by local observers.
"It's the opposite of Las Vegas: Whatever happens in the national press soon comes home," says Franklin.
It also opens Walker up to attacks from opponents. Last week, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke criticized Walker for being "more concerned with his own career than putting people back to work."
When asked for clarification of this criticism Monday, Burke campaign spokesperson Joe Zepecki said in an email that "[Mary]'s been very clear in her description of Scott Walker as a career politician who makes decisions ... based on politics."
"There's nothing special about that in terms of Walker," counters Franklin. "Every candidate thinking of higher office has to deal with the same question [about their priorities], and know that they have to answer it."
The Walker campaign did not respond to a request for comment.