West Des Moines, Iowa — Advocacy groups for progressives in Iowa and Wisconsin are holding “Scott Walker Truth Squad” in advance of the Wisconsin governor’s appearance Thursday at a Polk County Republican Fundraiser, one of several of appearances before GOP activists that point to a possible presidential run in 2016.
Advisers to Walker say he’s returning a favor to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who hosted a fundraiser in Dubuque, Iowa, for the embattled Wisconsin governor during his 2012 recall election, the Washington Post reported.
Even if Walker’s advisers are telling it like it is, and that Walker’s appearance with Branstad is just a little quid pro quo among political friends, the pre-banquet rally by Progress Iowa and One Wisconsin Now is expected to add to the political drama.
Both the rally and ticket-only fundraiser will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in West Des Moines.
Walker was exalted among conservatives nationwide for his battles against unions and call for sweeping reform to whittle away at Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion budget deficit.
The two activist groups staging Walker’s pre-appearance rally, which aim to unite progressives in their states around a variety of issues, say both Walker and Branstad promote a “dangerous anti-middle class agenda” with a “disastrous impact … on working families.”
Scot Ross, the executive director of One Wisconsin Now, said Walker has exaggerated and is “spinning yarns” about the successes of his conservative agenda as he “pursues his ambition for higher office,” according to a news release.
Ross said Walker’s jobs creation record is one of the worst in the country, that Wisconsin “is rated dead last in short term job creation prospects,” and that he enacted the biggest cuts to public education in state history and is now pushing a health care scheme that costs more to cover fewer people.
“The numbers don’t lie,” Ross said. “The real Walker resume is a record of failure.”
Walker Courting Activists, Donors
Polk County Republicans say Walker’s appearance is “sure to elicit speculation about a potential 2016 presidential bid,” the Iowa Republican reported.
The 45-year-old Wisconsin governor, who enjoys strong support among conservative activist groups with great sway in the Iowa caucuses and other primaries, appeared at GOP fundraisers in Connecticut and New York earlier this week.
He has recently spoken or has been invited to speak to groups like the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting, the Conservative Political Action Conference and the Faith and Freedom Coalition, among others.
The Wasington Post also reported that Walker – a “prodigious” fundraiser who raised nearly $35 million in 2011 and 2012, nearly two-thirds of which came from out-of-state – is continuing to engage his largest donors.