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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

 5:21 PM 

Walker: Obama's Cuba decision 'a dangerous precedent'

Gov. Scott Walker called President Obama's moves today to normalize relations with Cuba "a bad idea."

"I don't think there's been any noticeable change towards making that a more free and prosperous country," said Walker, who's thinking of running for president.

"No matter who the president is, no matter what party's in charge, consistently, in the past we've said, 'If you want to have a more normal relationship with the United States, you need to show you're committed to the same freedoms and rights that we have here in the United States.'"

Walker also said the decision "opens up a dangerous precedent" for the nation's relationships with other countries.

Listen to the Q&A with Walker

See Obama's remarks on Cuba policy

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

 5:39 PM 

Walker says he's unaffected by Jeb Bush moves

Gov. Scott Walker told reporters today Jeb Bush's decision to formally begin exploring a bid for the presidency "doesn't affect me one way or another."

Walker said neither announcements by Bush nor any other candidate would accelerate his timeline. He said those looking at running for the presidency may have their timelines impacted if states decided to move up their primaries.

"Whatever decision I make will be based upon me, my family and my state and what I may or may not be able to do for the country, not based on anybody else who may or may not be in the race," Walker said.

Walker said he remains focused on the state, including putting the final touches on his cabinet, compiling a legislative agenda and presenting his budget by the first week of February.

Meanwhile, a new ABC/Washington Post poll has Paul Ryan in fourth place and Walker in ninth among GOP voters for the party's 2016 presidential nomination.

Ryan was backed by 8 percent, while Walker was favored by 5 percent with Mitt Romney leading the packing at 20 percent. Romney has said he won't run, and with him out of the mix, Ryan was third at 11 percent, while Walker was tied for seventh with Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio at 6 percent.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

 7:22 AM 

Walker downplays Adelson meeting

Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday downplayed his meeting with casino magnate and mega donor Sheldon Adelson on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Walker said he wasn't there solely to meet with Adelson, who is being courted by a number of GOP presidential hopefuls. The guv said they spoke about the presidential race, but Walker did not ask Adelson for his endorsement or support, and Adelson did not offer any encouragement on a possible bid.

Adelson donated $250,000 to Walker during the 2012 recall election and gave him another $10,000 for his 2014 re-election campaign. Adelson also donated $650,000 to the state GOP in October the same day the party made an in-kind contribution of $450,011 to Walker's campaign.

"He helped me out quite a bit in the recall and then helped the party out quite a bit this last time," Walker said. "It was just paying him a visit to thank him for his support."

Walker spoke to reporters at the executive residence after giving a tour to children from the Dane County Boys and Girls Club. During the same Q&A, Walker shrugged off the national attention a decade-old letter is getting after the then-Milwaukee County exec signed it "Thank you again and Molotov" rather than "mazel tov."

The liberal One Wisconsin Now turned up the letter in the August release of records from John Doe I. It was a response to Milwaukee attorney Franklyn Gimbel, who had asked Walker to display a menorah in the courthouse.

Walker said he didn't remember details of the letter, which he said was likely a decade old. He said it was likely just a typo.

"I figured nationally my thumb has healed up and my bald spot is boring now, so they're going to talk about things like that," the guv said.

Listen to the Q&A

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

 5:15 PM 

Walker visits Vegas but mum on Adelson visit

Gov. Scott Walker's campaign isn't saying much about a Washington Post report that he was to be in Las Vegas this week to meet with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

"Governor Walker is currently traveling to Las Vegas to attend public and private events," spokeswoman Alleigh Marre said.

Adelson has proven a deep-pocketed donor in presidential politics, helping keep Newt Gingrich's 2012 presidential campaign alive by pouring $15 million into a super PAC supporting the Republican. Walker also previously traveled to Las Vegas in March to address the spring leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition and meet with Adelson.

Adelson donated $250,000 to Walker during the 2012 recall election and gave him another $10,000 for his 2014 re-election campaign. The casino magnate also donated $650,000 to the state GOP in October the same day the party made an in-kind contribution of $450,011 to Walker's campaign.

The state Dem Party slammed Walker's trip.

"While Scott Walker is courting campaign cash from a billionaire casino mogul in Las Vegas, the state budget deficit is climbing and his Republican Party is preparing to advance risky legislation that depresses middle-class wages and gives workers less control and flexibility in the workplace," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said.

"Once again, Scott Walker is more concerned with his personal political ambitions than with Wisconsin's future."

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Monday, December 8, 2014

 4:44 PM 

Liberal group focuses on John Doe, budget cuts in oppo research on Walker, Ryan

The liberal group American Bridge focuses on the John Doe investigations that have touched Walker and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's "draconian" budget cuts in an opposition research piece it released today on the 2016 GOP presidential field.

The 206-page document covers 20 possible Republican candidates for president. The overviews include a history of the candidates' careers, their positions on a number of issues, and their history both as fundraisers and in election results.

There's also an "In Focus" section for each candidate. In Walker's, the liberal group provides an overview of the two John Doe probes, the first resulting in the convictions of six associates, aides or donors and the second one resulting in a legal fight that's now in the state court system.

For Ryan, the "In Focus" notes various proposals from his budget proposals on taxes, student loans and safety net programs.

Each candidate also has a "What to Watch" section.

For Walker, the liberal group asks how the John Does would impact his candidacy, if he would try to end collective bargaining nationally if elected, if he will "offer a more robust explanation" for why he left Marquette University without graduating and if he will "double down on his attacks on private sector workers."

For Ryan, it was how he would handle the "legacy of the failed Romney-Ryan ticket" and if he would give up his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee to run.

See the group's overviews of Ryan and Walker

Download the full report

See the release

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Friday, December 5, 2014

 8:15 AM 

Milwaukee County Judge Bradley opts against state Supreme Court bid

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Bradley announced this morning she will not run for the state Supreme Court next year.

"After much thought, I have decided not to enter the 2015 race," she said. "It is my privilege and honor to continue serving my community and protecting children in need, as a Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge.

So far, only Rock County Judge James Daley has announced plans to run against Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who is up for another 10-year term.

The period to circulate nomination papers for the spring election began Monday. Candidates or the state Supreme Court have to turn in a minimum of 2,000 valid signatures by 5 p.m. Jan. 6.

-- By JR Ross


Thursday, December 4, 2014

 11:19 PM 

Iowa's GOP insiders give Walker the edge over Ryan in Iowa

DES MOINES -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's executive experience gives him an early edge over U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan if the two enter the Iowa GOP presidential caucus, several key Iowa Republicans say.

"I think Walker would be a stronger candidate as a Washington outsider," former Iowa Sen. Jeff Angelo, R-Ames, said late last month. "I think Ryan will struggle with the same issue being faced by any sitting House or Senate member -- voters think Washington, D.C. is dysfunctional and will doubt that an 'insider' can fix it. However, Ryan does have experience in the national spotlight and is known as a reformer."

The 2016 presidential race is heating up with Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses just a little more than a year away. The first Iowa forum featuring multiple presidential hopefuls will be held Jan. 24, when U.S. Rep. Steve King and Citizens United host the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines. It's seen as an opportunity for candidates to appeal to Christian conservatives, an influential demographic in the Iowa caucuses that Walker, the son of a pastor who spent part of his youth in Plainfield, Iowa, would need to win.

Meanwhile, Ryan recently elevated his national stature by being named to lead the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee -- just two years after receiving his party's nomination for vice president.

Several key Iowa Republicans told WisPolitics they see both Walker and Ryan as strong, appealing 2016 presidential candidates that Iowa caucus-goers would embrace, should they decide to run.

"I believe Iowa Republicans view both these Wisconsin Republicans as leaders who will not shy away from doing what's right, even in the face of potential political peril," said Matt Strawn, former chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa.

"For example, Congressman Ryan is one of the few Republican leaders in Washington with the political courage to lead on entitlement reform, which is demonstrated in the budgets that he has created for the GOP House," Strawn said. "Governor Walker did what many said couldn't be done in Wisconsin, which was bring much-needed reforms to various state public employee unions. The result has been a dramatic improvement in the state's finances."

Both Walker and Ryan are Midwesterners with geographic proximity to the state that's the first stop on the road to the White House. Iowa Republicans predicted that the two Wisconsin GOP leaders would do well and would be serious contenders.

"I believe that both of these gentlemen would be very credible candidates if they choose to enter the race," said former Iowa Senate President Jeff Lamberti, R-Ankeny. "I tend to give an edge to governors at the moment, only because I believe that voters are looking for strong, proven executive leadership at this point in time. Governors are better positioned in this respect."

But Lamberti said Ryan -- who visited Iowa in September to campaign for Iowa Republican candidates including U.S. Sen.-elect Joni Ernst -- also has a high profile with Iowa voters and would immediately be a serious contender if he enters the race.

"I think the actions of Congress after the new Congress is sworn in in 2015 could have a significant impact on a Ryan candidacy," Lamberti said. "I believe Republicans in Iowa want to see a Congress that is bold in its actions, and take steps to right a ship that is listing. Most important is the economy. Congressman Ryan has the opportunity to be at the center of these debates in 2015, which could position him well."

Strawn said it's still too early to speculate on how either would fare in the Iowa caucuses.

"Both are well-known by name and reputation to Iowa Republicans," Strawn said. "But neither have large personal networks of connections across the state, especially compared with other potential 2016 candidates that have either run for president before (Huckabee, Santorum, Perry), have spent significant time courting activists in the state (Cruz, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal), or campaigned aggressively for key Iowa candidates in 2014 (Chris Christie for Branstad and Marco Rubio for Ernst)."

See the full version of this story

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Monday, December 1, 2014

 11:36 AM 

GAB certifies election results, 54.58 percent turnout for guv's race

The GAB today certified results of the November elections, reporting 54.58 percent of the state's voting-age population turned out for the guv's race last month.

In all, 2.4 million people voted in the guv's race, which Gov. Scott Walker won with 1.26 million votes, or 52.26 percent, to 1.12 million votes, or 46.59 percent for Dem Mary Burke.

See the final results

-- By Staff


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