Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has inserted himself into the 2016 Republican presidential primary by endorsing Texas Senator Ted Cruz, in a bid to stop businessman and 2016 Republican and presidential candidate Donald Trump in next Tuesday’s Republican primary in Wisconsin.. Walker, in a visit to a popular local conservative radio show, “Midday with Charlie Sykes”, endorsed Cruz, while Sykes had endorsed Cruz on air earlier this month.
Walker told Sykes that he was “all-in” on the Cruz endorsement and will be campaigning with him in the days leading up to Tuesday’s primary election. The governor remains a major player in Wisconsin politics and his political network is very large. The governor has survived three elections in a span of four years; his first election was in 2010 for the governorship, his second was a recall effort in 2012, and he was reelected to be governor once again in 2014.
Sykes asked Walker to draw a comparison between Trump and Cruz. Cruz sidestepped the question, instead elaborating on the reason why he has chosen to endorse Cruz at this time in the race. Walker said in his remarks, “I wanted to make sure I was supporting something, I wasn’t against someone or someone, but for something. Americans want to know what you are for, not what you are against”, the governor said.
Whether or not the endorsement will have a direct impact on the race is clearly an unknown at this time. While some legislators are expected to line up behind Walker’s endorsement, don’t expect for all of them to do so. Wisconsin has a fragile economy, and if the polls move more towards Cruz, then that will tell us that more people feel that Cruz can grow the economy instead of Trump. Trump, for his part, still retains a firm grasp on the middle-class and blue collar workers in voting districts all over the state. Where Trump’s strength is greatest is in areas close to Milwaukee, while Walker’s endorsement will likely shift some voters from Trump to Cruz in and around Madison.
Ultimately, the race is still neck and neck between Cruz and Trump in Wisconsin. Latest polls show both candidates’ support to be within the margin of error, meaning that, as in many elections in the Badger State, the final winner is going to be determined by which candidate can get more of their voters to the polls than their opponent.
Wisonsin’s primary for the Republicans will award 42 delegates to the Republican National Convention, set for July 18-21 in the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Those delegates will be bound on a first ballot to the candidate who wins Wisconsin. If no candidate receives the required 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination prior to the convention, then those 42 delegates could possibly switch their support to other candidates who may be nominated at the convention to replace both Cruz and Trump.
It will be a few days before we will know if Walker’s endorsement results in a tangible improvement in Cruz’s poll numbers in Wisconsin. For his part, Cruz and his campaign managers have been lobbying for Walker’s endorsement for some time, and that effort has now paid off. We just have to wait seven days to know if this endorsement turns the tide for Cruz or not at the polls next Tuesday.