No gubernatorial race in the country is as competitive as Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) re-election bid in Wisconsin. The last four publicly released polls have shown the race either tied or within one percentage point.
And with just a week until Election Day, the incumbent governor isn’t convinced the Republican Machine is rallying to his defense to the degree he’d prefer.
At a morning campaign stop in Mayville, Wisconsin, Walker openly groused that the outside spending supporting his campaign “pales” in comparison to the Democratic effort to defeat him. He spoke dismissively of an upcoming campaign visit from [New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie], telling reporters that the Garden Stater was visiting because “he asked if he could come and we weren’t going to say no.”
In fairness, Walker later clarified that he’s grateful for Christie’s support, but he’s frustrated because he believes Democrats are rallying behind Mary Burke’s campaign with even stronger support.
The result is an awkward “feud” of sorts – Walker desperately needs backing from the Republican Governors Association, which is chaired by Christie, but at the same time, Walker believes the RGA is holding back, in part because of 2016. And he may have a point – both Christie and Walker are preparing to run for president, and if the Wisconsin governor comes up short, Christie will have one less credible rival for the GOP nomination.
It’s created a dynamic in which Christie’s RGA wants Walker to win, but it also sees the broader benefits of Walker losing.
And that in turn has generated chatter about whether the New Jersey Republican is undermining his Wisconsin ally on purpose to advance Christie’s ambitions.
The Weekly Standard, which is clearly attuned to Republican insiders’ thinking, had an interesting report on this late last week.
Is New Jersey governor and Republican Governors Association chairman Chris Christie undercutting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s reelection effort? That’s a question a number of influential Wisconsin Republicans have been asking behind the scenes over the past week after an October 16 Associated Press report indicated that Walker and his allies were being outspent by Democratic challenger Mary Burke and her allies. […]Why would the RGA spend more on Rick Snyder than Scott Walker? A number of top Wisconsin Republicans have expressed the same concern in separate conversations with THE WEEKLY STANDARD: That RGA chairman Chris Christie might be tanking Walker, a potential rival for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. As Republican governors who took on public employee unions in blue states, Christie and Walker would be chasing after some of the same donors and voters in the 2016 race (if both men decide to run). Knocking Walker out of the running now (while giving extra help to Rick Snyder, a governor of an important early GOP primary state) could be in Christie’s interest.
As for Democrats, President Obama will be in Wisconsin today, rallying support for Burke’s campaign, which “comes on the heels of high-profile events with Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton.”