Scott Walker

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See also: Scott Walker possible presidential campaign, 2016
Scott Walker
Scott Walker 2.jpg
Governor of Wisconsin
In office
January 3, 2011 - Present
Term ends
Years in position 4
PredecessorJim Doyle (D)
Base salary$144,423
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Campaign $$48,848,814
Term limitsNone
Prior offices
Milwaukee County Executive
May 10, 2002-December 28, 2010
Wisconsin State Assembly
1993 - 2002
High schoolDelevan-Darien High School (1986)
Date of birthNovember 2, 1967
Place of birthColorado Springs, CO
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Scott Walker (b. November 2, 1967, in Colorado Springs, Colorado) is a Republican currently serving as the 45th Governor of Wisconsin. He was first elected governor in November 2010, and was sworn into office January 3, 2011, replacing Democrat Jim Doyle. Walker won a second term in 2014, alongside running mate and current Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (R).[1] His second term began in January 2015.

Walker is considered a possible presidential candidate in 2016.

Rising through the state ranks to reach the governorship, Walker first served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1993-2002 and as Milwaukee County executive from 2002-2010.[2]

Walker gained national attention soon after assuming the office of governor in 2011 due to his proposal of Wisconsin Act 10, which became known as the "Scott Walker Budget Repair Bill." The bill, which restricted the ability of public workers to engage in public bargaining, drew massive protests, mainly organized by unions. Opponents of the measure targeted Walker for recall, successfully forcing the incumbent to face a recall election on June 5, 2012.[3] Walker again faced Tom Barrett (D), defeating him 53 percent to 46 percent. In doing so Walker became the first governor to survive a recall.[4] The legislation also led to two years of State Senate recalls; as a result of these efforts, three Republican senators were removed from office.

An analysis of Republican governors by Nate Silver of the New York Times in April 2013 ranked Walker as the third most conservative governor in the country.[5] Walker is a member of the executive committee of the National Governors Association. He, along with eight other governors, will determine the association's priorities and actions for the year. He was named to this leadership role in August 2013.[6]


Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Pat and Llewlyn Walker, Scott Walker first moved to Plainfield, Iowa, before settling in the small town of Delevan, Wisconsin, in 1977. Growing up, Walker was an active Boy Scout and ultimately earned the Eagle Scout rank. Walker continues to be involved with scouting. Through the American Legion, he also went to Ripon, Wisconsin, for Badger Boys State and then to Washington, D.C., for Boys Nation.[7] Walker has credited that experience with sparking his political interest.

He left Marquette University in his senior year to join the Red Cross in a marketing position. He also worked briefly for IBM while he was a student at Marquette.[7] Having never returned to finished his degree, Walker is now the first governor in over 64 years not to hold a college degree.

In 1993, Walker ran for and was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in a special election for the 14th District.[7] He was re-elected four times and served nine years in the Assembly.[7]

Walker ran for Milwaukee County executive in 2002 and won a special election that year after former county executive Tom Ament resigned during a pension scandal that affected the county.[2] Walker was re-elected as county executive for Wisconsin's largest county in 2004 and 2008.[7] In his 2008 re-election bid, Walker won over 57 percent of the vote.[8] Walker officially stepped down as County Executive on December 28, 2010, shortly after being elected the 45th Governor of Wisconsin.[2]

He previously ran for governor in 2006 but ended his candidacy over fundraising concerns. In April 2009, he announced his second run for governor.[9]


  • High school diploma, Delevan-Darien High School (1986)
  • Attended, Marquette University (1986 to 1990)

Political career

Governor of Wisconsin (2011 - Present)

In both the 2010 primary and general election, Walker campaigned on a program of cutting spending, reversing taxes and reducing salaries and benefits for public sector union employees.[10] He specifically promised to decline a proposed $800 million federal grant to build a rail line between Madison and Milwaukee, saying the annual upkeep would dwarf federal government aid and be too expensive to make the project worthwhile.[11] After his victory in 2010, the grant was rescinded and the money given to other states. Walker avoided recall by winning an election in 2012 and won a second four-year term in 2014.


Investigation of alleged campaign coordination
See also: John Doe investigations related to Scott Walker

Michael Isikoff with Yahoo! Politics published an article on March 23, 2015, detailing $1.5 million in donations by John Menard, Jr. to the Wisconsin Club for Growth in support of Walker's 2012 campaign against recall. Menard, the owner of Menard's home improvement stores, received $1.8 million in tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) in 2013 and 2014. Isikoff also noted that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reduced their overall enforcement actions since 2010, which became a priority to Menard following $1.7 million in fines for hazardous waste dumping by his company during former Gov. Jim Doyle's (D) time in office.[12]

Walker spokesperson Laurel Patrick rejected Isikoff's notion of special treatment for Menard. Patrick also highlighted $1 million in tax credits provided to Menard under Walker's Democratic predecessor to counter charges of special favors.[12] Patrick also pointed out that while Walker chairs the WEDC, he did not vote on the tax credits because they fell below a $10 million threshold for his involvement.[13]

Isikoff drew on emails and internal documents seized by prosecutors as part of a larger investigation of potential illegal coordination between conservative groups and Walker during the 2012 recall election. This investigation, referred to as John Doe 2 to differentiate from an investigation of Walker's time as Milwaukee County executive, has revealed emails from Walker's recall campaign soliciting funds for the Wisconsin Club for Growth because of the group's non-disclosure of corporate donations. Donations were made by Menard and Donald Trump along with hedge fund investors Stephen Cohen and Paul Singer. Mining firm Gogebic Taconite also donated $700,000 to the group during the recall campaign while lobbying the Wisconsin State Assembly to secure iron ore rights in the northern part of the state. David Rivkin, an attorney for Wisconsin Club for Growth, countered John Doe 2 by stating that "the John Doe investigation is a transparent attempt to target and silence Wisconsin conservatives."[12] The Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear arguments for John Doe 2 on April 17 and April 20, 2015.[13]

Collective bargaining
See also: Wisconsin Act 10, the "Scott Walker Budget Repair Bill" (2011) and Union protests in Madison, Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker's Budget Repair Bill

One of Walker's early proposals, Wisconsin Assembly Bill 11, the "Scott Walker Budget Repair Bill", was aimed at saving Wisconsin citizens money by reducing the ability of government employee unions to engage in collective bargaining. Under the plan, only emergency responders would retain that privilege. The proposal also called for union members to make contributions to their own medical insurance and retirement savings, of 12.6 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively.[14][15]

The bill was introduced into the Assembly by the Committee on Assembly Organization, at the request of Walker, on February 15, 2011. It was then referred, successively, to the Joint Committee on Finance and the Joint Survey Committee on Retirement Systems. The Republican-controlled Assembly and the Senate were in favor of the bill; their Democratic colleagues took the opposite view. Lacking the numbers to vote the bill down, the entire Wisconsin Senate Democratic contingent refused to vote. Senate Republicans were one short of the 20 members needed to call a quorum and vote on spending bills, meaning the Democrats were able to halt a vote on the bill.

Walker ordered Wisconsin law enforcement to find the senators and compel them to return to the Capitol for the vote, causing the Democratic Senate delegation to decamp to a resort across the border in Rockford, Illinois.[16][17] In a February 17 press conference, Walker pressed lawmakers to return to the state and take a vote. Asked if he thought he had any legal authority to cross state lines and compel Senate Democrats to return to Madison, he told reporters, "That's a really big question for us."[18]

The response from unions became a national story; schools were closed for days as unionized teachers called in 'sick' and camped out inside the Capitol rotunda.[19] Republicans adjourned until Friday, February 18, 2011, still indicating a vote could go forward. Holding 19 seats in the Senate and requiring 20 for a vote, the GOP only needed one additional member to show up.[20][21] While the DNC, President Obama and national union heads weighed in against Walker's plan, one local paper wrote that Democrats needed to "get over their snits and get back to work."[22]

Union leaders and Democrats contrasted their actions as making a final stand to prevent similar bills from being introduced in other states. Both President Obama and union heads described the bill as an 'assault.'[23]

As the first week of protests ended, with Madison and Milwaukee schools having been closed three days, schools sought a temporary restraining order banning teachers from attending protests and thus forcing teachers to report to their jobs, something the courts denied on Friday, February 18.[24] Meanwhile, union members from other states began streaming into Wisconsin to join the protests and some of Walker's allies reported being picketed at their own homes.[25]

Republicans did not get their vote on Friday and protests continued through the weekend and the President's Day holiday, by which time the story was an international headline and other GOP governors were fashioning versions of the bill for their own states. By this point, protests from organized labor had spread to Indiana and Ohio, with pro-union crowds thronging those state capitols.[26]

Walker and his fellow party members steadfastly refused to back down on cutting collective bargaining rights, with Walker telling media outlets that he was doing exactly what he had promised during his campaign. On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, Wisconsin's Assembly Speaker, Jeff Fitzgerald, who also chaired the Assembly Committee that first saw the bill, spoke publicly before beginning the day's session; he vowed to pass the bill intact and echoed Walker's stance that Republicans were doing exactly what they had promised to do if elected.[27]

The start of the second week also brought an ultimatum from the governor, who warned public employees that he would commence layoffs if his bill continued to be stalled.[28] With Senate Democrats still out of Walker's reach, their Assembly counterparts spent the morning session pushing for more than 100 amendments. Both the Senate and the governor worked under heavy guard from state patrol officers with the roar of protesters audible throughout the Capitol.

Tuesday morning brought the first indications that Senate Republicans might have found a way to end collective bargaining without Democratic cooperation. While the Wisconsin Senate must have a quorum to pass spending and fiscal bills, they could theoretically sever the collective bargaining from the spending cuts and pass the former item in its own bill. Freshman Senator Leah Vukmir indicated the idea had been considered but that the GOP was not yet sure it wanted to take that route.[29]

The Wisconsin Assembly voted for final passage of the bill on March 10, 2011, and Walker signed the bill into law the following day.[30] The new law immediately faced legal challenges.

Law struck down by district court

Dane County District Judge Maryann Sumi ruled in May 2011 that lawmakers violated Wisconsin's open meetings law in passing the collective bargaining legislation in spring 2011, and therefore, the bill would be null and void. Walker had signed the bill into law, but the ruling overruled it.

"It is not the court's duty to determine whether 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 is good public policy or bad public policy; that is the business of the legislature," the ruling stated. It went on to say that the court had a responsibility to "apply the rule of law to the facts before it."

Sumi ruled that lawmakers failed to give enough notice for the Joint Committee on Conference meeting held March 9, 2011, during which lawmakers settled on the final version of the collective bargaining bill. The bill requires most public union employees to contribute more to their healthcare and pension plans and limits their collective-bargaining powers to salary negotiations.

Legislative leaders pledged to pass the legislation again as part of the biennial budget — but counted on the state Supreme Court to be the ultimate decider on this case.

“There’s still a much larger separation-of-powers issue: whether one Madison judge can stand in the way of the other two democratically elected branches of government," said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald in a statement. "The Supreme Court is going to have the ultimate ruling, and they’re still scheduled to hear the issue on June 6."[31]

Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns lower court ruling

On June 14, 2011, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the lower court opinion, ruling that Walker’s collective bargaining law was in effect.

The ruling voided Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi’s decision striking down the law because lawmakers broke the state’s open meetings law during the passage of the legislation.

In its ruling, the state Supreme Court said that the Dane County Circuit Court had “invaded the legislature’s constitutional powers...under the Wisconsin Constitution” when Sumi issued a temporary restraining order preventing the law from going into effect.[32]

“We’ve been saying since day one that Republicans passed the budget repair bill correctly, so frankly this isn’t much of a surprise,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said in a joint statement. “We followed the law when the bill was passed, simple as that.”


On The Issues Vote Match

Scott Walker's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Walker is a Hard-Core Conservative. Walker received a score of 24 percent on social issues and 80 percent on economic issues.[33] Note: We are working to resolve inaccuracies with this information. Thank you for your patience.

On The Issues organization logo.

Response to the 2014 illegal immigration surge
See also: 2014 illegal immigration surge

On July 22, 2014, the Republican governors of Alabama, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin sent a letter to President Obama expressing their concerns about the handling of the ongoing border crisis. The crisis was over unaccompanied and undocumented immigrant children illegally crossing into Texas. The governors noted that a failure to return the children “will send a message that will encourage a much larger movement towards our southern border,” endangering more children.[34]

Commission on Waste, Fraud and Abuse

Walker called for the formation of a Commission on Waste, Fraud and Abuse. The seven-member committee assembled in January 2011, and in July 2011 it identified $266,555,737 in potential annual savings for state agencies. The commission found that if the agencies streamlined and improved current practices, the savings could amount to more than $250 million.

In their report, commission members scolded state agencies for failing to control expenses the way Wisconsin residents had been forced to do in the wake of the recession.

“Wisconsin deserves a government that spends its financial resources just as carefully as the citizens of Wisconsin spend their own,” said Craig Rakowski, the commission’s chairman and president of James Craig Builders, in the report. “Everyone has been forced to take a closer look at how they spend their money. Our state government should be no different.”[35]

Voter ID

In the summer of 2011, Wisconsin voters faced a unique slate of recall elections that provided voters with a test run of photo identification requirements at the polls. This all depended on a mid-May vote in the Senate and Walker's signature. The primary elections in spring 2012 were the first voter ID primaries.

The Government Accountability Board (GAB), the state’s elections agency, began preparing to train local clerks and poll workers before the Senate vote.

GAB spokesman Reid Magney said the agency could try a “soft implementation” of voter ID during recall elections for nine Wisconsin state senators, slated for July 12 or August 9, if a primary was required. Recall voters were asked, but not required, to provide ID and received literature explaining the new requirements.

“We’ve begun the planning process for implementation, but at this point I think it’s too early to say that we’ll have it done by a certain day,” Magney said.

In May 2011 the State Assembly passed the voter ID proposal, AB 7, by a mostly party-line vote of 60 to 35, with all Republicans and a few Democrats in support.

State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) said the proposal would protect the integrity of elections.

“I think that there’s enough isolated incidents over the years that anyone who casts a vote has to have the full faith in the idea that their vote counts and it’s not going to be canceled out by some other person in another part of the state involved in some shenanigans,” he said.[36]

The United States Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the voter ID law on March 23, 2015, allowing the voter ID requirement to proceed after legal challenges by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other state groups. Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel (R) declined to enforce the law for local elections in April 7 due to a short timeline for implementation, but indicated that voter ID would be used in future elections.[37]

Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals, which ranked 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation records, Walker was ranked number 40. The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[38][39]

September 2013 NYC event

Six of the Republican Party’s leaders and potential 2016 nominees jointly headlined a fundraiser for the Republican National Committee (RNC) in New York in September 2013.

According to an invitation that went out August 26, 2013, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Jets owner Woody Johnson hosted the event September 23, 2013, at Johnson's home.[40]

It was a dinner and reception with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, and Gov. Walker, as well as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Rep. Paul Ryan, who were listed as the “special guests.”[40]

It represented a major force of star power at a single event on behalf of the party, and it featured some of the party’s brightest future talent, many of whom represented different wings of the GOP.[40]

Rejects Medicaid expansion

Addressing a meeting of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce on February 13, 2013, Walker announced his decision to reject Medicaid expansion through the federal healthcare law. Instead, Walker offered an alternative plan that he said would reduce the number of uninsured people by nearly the same amount as Medicaid expansion.

Walker stated, "My goal in looking at this is two things: One, I want to have fewer people in the state who are uninsured, but along with that I'd like to have fewer people in the state who are dependent on the government."[41]

Under Walker's alternative plan, an enrollment cap on Medicaid programs for childless adults would be lifted, income eligibility for state residents able to use Medicaid programs would be tightened, and thousands of people currently in such programs would be moved to federal government-run healthcare exchanges, allowing them to purchase private insurance.[41]

Republicans praised the decision, while Democrats soundly rejected it. Walker became the 14th Republican governor to reject the Medicaid expansion.[42]

Tribal casinos

In 2013, the Seminole and Menominee tribes gained approval from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs for an off-reservation casino in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Walker held the sole authority over the casino's final fate and ultimately rejected an $800 million casino project in January 2015 after months of lobbying and television ads by both sides. Tribal leaders for the Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk and Oneida opposed the Kenosha casino project as a threat to revenues for their casinos. Supporters of the casino project included Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) and Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser, who saw the project as a potential boost to the regional economy.[43][44]

County Executive of Milwaukee (2002 - 2010)

Walker was first elected to the county executive's office in a special election to replace a county executive who left office under the cloud of a pension fund scandal. He went on to win re-election twice, with 57 percent in 2004 and 59 percent in 2008.[45][46][47] While in office, Walker returned portions of his salary to the county treasury.[48] He cut Milwaukee County's payroll and debt during his tenure in the position.[49]

In the summer of 2010, when Walker's first campaign for Governor of Wisconsin was underway, a concrete panel fell from a county-owned parking structure, striking and killing a 15-year-old boy. This became an issue in the gubernatorial election. Walker's critics said that in his role as county executive, he had exercised insufficient oversight over the public building and it had therefore been poorly maintained and unsafe for use. An investigation was conducted, determining that the panel had been improperly installed. The family of the victims bought a lawsuit against the company that manufactured and installed the panels; they were awarded $33 million in damages. Milwaukee County received $6 million in damages from the company.[50]

Walker's staff during his time as county executive came under scrutiny in a "John Doe" legal proceeding; the investigation began in 2010 and continued for several years thereafter. Two of Walker's county aides were convicted of "misconduct in office for doing campaign work on county time" as a result of this investigation. Four other individuals were also convicted on various charges.[51]

Wisconsin State Legislature (1993 - 2002)

During four terms as a state legislator, Walker earned a reputation as a supporter of cracking down on crime and curtailing welfare programs, and he was also considered to be a staunch pro-life advocate on abortion issues.[52] His position on abortion earned him multiple endorsements from right-to-life groups during his gubernatorial run.

Walker's signature legislative work came on the Committees on Correctional Facilities, and Corrections and the Courts. While building experience in criminal justice legislature, Walker authored one bill, aimed at 'truth in sentencing,' that effectively ended the practice of shaving time off prisoners' sentences for good behavior.[49]




See also: Scott Walker possible presidential campaign, 2016 and Presidential election, 2016

Walker is considered a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016. When asked on December 1, 2013, if he was considering a run for the presidency, Walker said, "I'm running for governor ... we'll see what happens after that. I've got to look at my state ... for now I'm focused on being governor."[53] Then, on February 5, 2015, when Martha Raddatz asked if he will run for president, Walker said, "I’ll just tell you one thing. After three elections for governor in four years in a state that hasn’t gone Republican since 1984 for president, I wouldn’t bet against me on anything."[54]


See also: Wisconsin gubernatorial election, 2014

Walker was re-elected to a second term as Governor of Wisconsin in 2014.[1] Walker was renominated without opposition in the Republican primary on August 12. He ran on the Republican ticket with Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch in the general election on November 4, 2014.


General election
Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngScott Walker/Rebecca Kleefisch Incumbent 52.3% 1,259,706
     Democrat Mary Burke/John Lehman 46.6% 1,122,913
     Libertarian Robert Burke/Joseph Brost 0.8% 18,720
     Independent Dennis Fehr 0.3% 7,530
     Nonpartisan Scattering 0.1% 1,248
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0% 200
Total Votes 2,410,317
Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

Race background

November 2014 marked incumbent Governor Scott Walker's third election in four years. He first won in the 2010 elections, and he faced a high-profile recall election in 2012. Walker, a Republican, defeated the same Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, by a similar margin in both elections. In 2014, Walker's main Democratic challenger was Mary Burke, a former business executive and current member of the school board in Madison.

2012 recall
See also: Scott Walker recall, Wisconsin (2012)

Democrats targeted Walker for recall due to his efforts to limit the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions through Wisconsin Assembly Bill 11, the "Scott Walker Budget Repair Bill", which the governor introduced in February 2011. The bill was immediately met with wide-scale protests. While the passions of the 2012 recall and of the 2010 election, an election that saw Republicans win control of the House of Representatives and many other offices across the country, may not have been as strong in the 2014 election cycle, the underlying issues still existed and Governor Walker remained a divisive figure.[55] Walker is the only governor to have survived a recall and only the third governor to face a recall election in U.S. history.[56]

Common Core
See also: Common Core State Standards Initiative

In addition to the ongoing issues that fueled the protests and subsequent failed recall, the issue of Common Core surfaced in this race. Walker, a former supporter of the education standards, began to back away from his stance and sought to change how Common Core is implemented in Wisconsin.[57] Burke publicly supported Common Core.[58]

State of the race

Polling in October 2014 indicated a close race with few undecided voters, driven by the highly charged political atmosphere and almost continuous campaigning caused by the recall. The race depended on each candidate's ability to motivate supporters to go to the polls, rather than the ability to change the minds of undecided voters. As of July 2014, The Cook Political Report rated this race as a "toss-up."[59]

Libertarian Robert Burke and Peoples Party candidate Dennis Fehr were identified as potential variables in this toss-up race, though their vote totals did not contribute to the outcome of the race. Burke, a "socially liberal" former Republican, said that he "...can mess things up for both sides."[60][61][62] Fehr is the founder and sole candidate of the Peoples Party, not to be confused with the People's Party.[63]

Primary races

Both Walker and Mary Burke faced primary challengers but won comfortably for their respective parties' nominations. Walker's only opponent, Steve Evans, ran as a write-in candidate, while Burke was endorsed by the Wisconsin Democratic Party's Administrative Committee over her opponent, State Assemblyman Brett Hulsey.[64]


Debate media

October 10 debate

October 17 debate
October 17 debate

The second debate between Mary Burke (D) and Scott Walker (R) centered on the state economy as both candidates jousted for position as the best candidate for Wisconsin voters. Burke hammered away at the Republican governor for failing to create 250,000 jobs in his first term as he pledged during his 2010 campaign. She also blamed Walker and Republican legislators for a projected budget shortfall of $1.8 billion. Walker countered that his administration helped generate 100,000 new jobs and $2 billion in tax cuts since 2011. He also argued that Burke's economic plan used word-for-word passages from the plans of other Democratic candidates, an issue emphasized in pro-Walker TV ads.[65]

October 10 debate

Burke and Walker discussed the minimum wage, economic policy and abortion during a debate hosted by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. Walker initially evaded a question about raising the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, though he eventually responded that state officials should push to create jobs that earn more than minimum wage. Burke countered that Walker's argument was unrealistic as "retail and home health" workers would not be able to shift easily to industrial jobs. Walker argued that Wisconsin families experienced an average tax reduction of $322 in 2014, while Burke suggested that Walker should not be elected again because the state has a projected budget shortfall.[66]

Walker did not respond directly when asked whether he opposed abortion in cases of rape, noting that the Supreme Court resolved the question in Roe v. Wade. Burke echoed an ad campaign by Planned Parenthood prior to the general election, arguing that the governor's position on abortion was "anything but reasonable."[66]


Governor of Wisconsin, General election from August 2014
Poll Scott Walker * (R) Mary Burke (D)Undecided/OtherMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen Reports
August13-14, 2014
Marquette Law School Poll
August 21-24, 2014
August 18-September 2, 2014
We Ask America
September 3, 2014
Marquette University Law School
September 11-14, 2014
Rasmussen Reports
September 15-16, 2014
New York Times/CBS News/YouGov
September 20-October 1, 2014
Marquette University Law School
October 9-12, 2014
WPR/St. Norbert College
October 19-21, 2014
Rasmussen Reports
October 20-21, 2014
New York Times/CBS News/YouGov
October 16-23, 2014
Marquette University Law School
October 23-26, 2014
Public Policy Polling
(October 28-30, 2014)
AVERAGES 47.62% 46.69% 5.38% +/-3.26 1,222.77
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to
Governor of Wisconsin, General election through July 2014
Poll Scott Walker (R) Mary Burke (D)Undecided/OtherMargin of ErrorSample Size
Marquette University Law School Poll
October 21-24, 2013
Rasmussen Reports
March 10-11, 2014
Marquette University Law School Poll
March 20-23, 2014
St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute
March 24 - April 3, 2014
Magellan Strategies for the Liberty Foundation of America
April 14-15,2014
Public Policy Polling
April 17-20, 2014
Marquette University Law School Poll
May 15-18, 2014
Marquette University Law School Poll
July 17-20, 2014
Gravis Marketing
July 31-August 3, 2014
AVERAGES 47.68% 44.54% 7.39% +/-3.64 828
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Note: An asterisk (*) denotes incumbent status.


See also: Scott Walker recall, Wisconsin (2012)

Walker defeated Tom Barrett (D) and Hariprasad "Hari" Trivedi (I) in a recall election on June 5, 2012. A primary took place on May 8.

Recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngScott Walker Incumbent 53.1% 1,335,585
     Democratic Tom Barrett 46.3% 1,164,480
     Independent Hari Trivedi 0.6% 14,463
     Scattering - 0.1% 1,537
Total Votes 2,516,065
Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board

Walker easily defeated Arthur Kohl-Riggs in the Republican primary. Five candidates sought the Democratic nomination — Kathleen Falk, Kathleen Vinehout, Doug La Follette, Tom Barrett and Gladys Huber.

Talk of an attempt to recall Walker for his role in the passage of the Budget Repair Bill began in February 2011, about a month after he took office. However, under Wisconsin law an elected official has to be in office for one year before he or she can be recalled. Although Walker was safe, nine state senators faced recall elections, which ultimately led to two incumbent Republicans being removed from office.

On October 10, 2011, Wisconsin state Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate announced that they, in conjunction with United Wisconsin, would officially begin the recall campaign against Walker on November 15. In order to put a recall on the ballot, they had to collect 540,208 valid signatures in 60 days.[67] On March 30, 2012, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board officially certified just over 900,000 signatures and scheduled the recall.[68]

Wisconsin Governor Recall - Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngScott Walker Incumbent 96.9% 626,962
Arthur Kohl-Riggs 3.1% 19,939
Patrick J. O'Brien (Write-In) 0% 17
Scattering 0% 204
Total Votes 647,122
Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.


  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel[69]


See also: Wisconsin gubernatorial election, 2010 and Gubernatorial elections, 2010

Walker faced Tom Barrett (D), James James (Common Sense) and Jim Langer (I) in the general election on November 2, 2010. Walker won the election with 52 percent of the vote. In the primaries, Walker easily defeated two GOP challengers. His general election battle with Barrett, the Mayor of Milwaukee at the time, was one of the most acrimonious of the 2010 cycle, becoming more fraught as Walker's poll numbers improved.

Walker ran on a ticket with Rebecca Kleefisch.

His win was part of a midterm election night that overall favored Republicans. In addition to the governorship, Republicans in Wisconsin picked up both chambers of the state legislature in the 2010 general election.[70]

Wisconsin Governor/Lt. Governor, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngScott Walker/Rebecca Kleefisch 52.2% 1,128,941
     Democratic Tom Barrett/Tom Nelson 46.5% 1,004,303
     Independent Jim Langer/No candidate 0.5% 10,608
     Libertarian No candidate/Terry Virgil 0.3% 6,790
     Common Sense James James/No candidate 0.4% 8,273
     Independent Leslie Ervin Smetak/David Myron Smetak 0% 19
     Independent Patricia Messici/No candidate 0% 22
     Independent Hari Trivedi/No candidate 0% 18
     - Scattering 0.1% 1,858
Total Votes 2,160,832
Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board


Scott Walker won election to a third term as Milwaukee County executive against State Senator Lena Taylor on April 1, 2008.[71]

2008 Milwaukee County Executive Election Results[71].
Candidates Percentage
Scott Walker 57.74%
Lena Taylor 40.40%
Scattering 0.17%
Total votes 170,251

NOTE: County Executive candidates are listed as nonpartisan

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Walker is available dating back to 1998. Based on available campaign finance records, Walker raised a total of $48,848,814 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 6, 2013.[72]

Scott Walker's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Governor of Wisconsin Won $37,717,808
2010 Governor of Wisconsin Won $11,016,186
2000 Wisconsin State Assembly Won $81,092
1998 Wisconsin State Assembly Won $33,728
Grand Total Raised $48,848,814


Walker won re-election to the position of Governor of Wisconsin in 2012. During that election cycle, Walker raised a total of $37,717,808.


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Scott Walker's donors each year.[73] Click [show] for more information.


Walker and his wife, Tonnette Walker, have two sons. The Walkers reside in Wauwatosa.[7]

State profile

Wisconsin's population in 2013 was 5,742,713.

Wisconsin's population in 2013 was 5,742,713 according to the United States Census Bureau. This estimate represented a 1 percent change from the bureau's 2010 estimate. The state's population per square mile was 105 in 2010, exceeding the national average of 87.4. Wisconsin experienced a 1.5 percent increase in total employment from 2011 to 2012 based on census data, falling below a 2.2 percent increase at the national level during the same period.[74]


Wisconsin fell below the national average for residents who attained at least bachelor's degrees based on census data from 2009 to 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 26.8 percent of Wisconsin residents aged 25 years and older attained bachelor's degrees compared to 28.8 percent at the national level. The median household income in Wisconsin was $52,413 between 2009 and 2013 compared to a $53,046 national median income. Census information showed a 13.5 percent poverty rate in Wisconsin during the study period compared to a 14.5 percent national poverty rate.[74]

Racial Demographics, 2013[74]
Race Wisconsin (%) United States (%)
White 88.1 77.7
Black or African American 6.5 13.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.1 1.2
Asian 2.5 5.3
Two or More Races 1.7 2.4
Hispanic or Latino 6.3 17.1

Presidential Voting Pattern, 2000-2012[75][76]
Year Democratic vote in Wisconsin (%) Republican vote in Wisconsin (%) Democratic vote in U.S. (%) Republican vote in U.S. (%)
2012 52.8 45.9 51.1 47.2
2008 56.2 42.3 52.9 45.7
2004 49.7 49.3 48.3 50.7
2000 47.8 47.6 48.4 47.9

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[77]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Scott Walker Wisconsin Governor."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

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See also

External links

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Scott Walker kicks off re-election bid with rallies around Wisconsin," April 15, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Today's TMJ 4, "Walker Works Last Day as County Executive," December 27, 2010
  3. UPI, "Recall election schedule set in Wisconsin," March 15, 2012
  4. Christian Science Monitor, "Gov. Scott Walker makes history, survives Wisconsin recall election," June 6, 2012
  5. New York Times, "In State Governments, Signs of a Healthier G.O.P.," April 16, 2013
  6. National Governors Association, "NGA Announces New Executive Committee Leadership," August 4, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Scott Walker for Governor, "Official Biography," accessed October 27, 2010
  8. Milwaukee County Election Commission, "Spring 2008 General Election Results," accessed October 28, 2010
  9. Channel 3000, "Walker Expected To Announce Bid For Governor," April 27, 2009
  10. The Daily Reporter, "Walker targets wages and benefits," November 13, 2009
  11. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Walker says no thanks to federal stimulus dollars," January 6, 2009
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Yahoo!, "Secret $1.5 million donation from Wisconsin billionaire uncovered in Scott Walker dark-money probe," March 23, 2015
  13. 13.0 13.1 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Report: Menards owner gave $1.5 million to pro-Scott Walker group," March 24, 2015
  14. Wall Street Journal, "Union Fight Heats Up," February 17, 2011
  15. Wisconsin State Journal, "Highlights of Gov. Walker's budget repair bill," February 11, 2011
  16. Green Bay Press Gazette, "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says National Guard ready for any unrest over anti-union bill," February 11, 2011
  17. ABC News, "Wisconsin State Senator Mark Miller Calls Governor Scott Walker's Budget Tactics 'Insulting,' Asks for 'Respect'," February 18, 2011
  18. The Hill, "Wis. governor: GOP won't be 'bullied' by union bill protesters," February 18, 2011
  19. Fox 6, "Milwaukee Public Schools closed for Friday due to high number of absentee calls from teachers," February 18, 2011 (dead link) (dead link)
  20. Green Bay Press Gazette, "Wisconsin Democrats flee to Clock Tower Hotel in Rockford, Ill., to block anti-union bill," February 17, 2011
  21. Bloomberg Businessweek, "Senator: Missing Wis. lawmakers left the state," February 17, 2011
  22. Journal-Sentinal Online, "The Dems' tantrum," February 17, 2011
  23. Washington Post, "Obama joins Wisconsin's budget battle, opposing Republican anti-union bill," February 18, 2011
  24. NBC 15, "UPDATE: Madison Schools Go To Court To Get Teachers Back," February 18, 2011
  25. The Journal Times, "Unions picket Wanggaard home over Walker’s overhaul proposal," February 15, 2011
  26. Wall Street Journal, "Political Fight Over Unions Escalates," February 22, 2011
  27. Yahoo News, "Wis. Assembly leader vows to pass anti-union bill," February 22, 2011
  28. Yahoo News, "Wisconsin governor warns of layoff notices," February 22, 2011
  29. The Daily Caller, "Wisconsin Senate can eliminate collective bargaining for teachers - even without Democrats who fled," February 21, 2011
  30. Wisconsin Legislative Documents, "Assembly Bill 11," accessed July 25, 2014
  31. Wisconsin Reporter, "Judge: Collective bargaining bill violated open meetings law," May 26, 2011
  32. Wisconsin Reporter, "High court overrules Sumi, says union reform law in effect," June 14, 2011
  33. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ontheissues
  34. Washington Post, "At least 32 governors have weighed in on the border crisis. Here’s what each has said," July 23, 2014
  35. Wisconsin Reporter, "Walker’s commission finds $260 million in potential savings for taxpayers," July 13, 2011
  36. Statehouse News Online, "Wisconsin elections board: ‘11 will be test for voter ID," May 16, 2011
  37. The New York Times, "Wisconsin Decides Not to Enforce Voter ID Law," March 23, 2015
  38. The Business Journals, "Governors and jobs: How governors rank for job creation in their states," June 27, 2013
  39. The Business Journals, "How state governors rank on their job-growth record," June 27, 2013
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 Politico, "GOP 2016 hopefuls slated for NYC event," accessed August 28, 2013
  41. 41.0 41.1 Wisconsin State Journal, "Scott Walker rejects Medicaid expansion, proposes alternate plan to cover uninsured," February 13, 2013
  42. Telegraph Herald, "Walker says no to federal Medicaid expansion," February 14, 2013
  43. The Washington Post, "Republican governors group benefitting big from Wisconsin casino fight," February 14, 2014
  44. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Scott Walker rejects Menominee bid for Kenosha casino," January 23, 2015
  45., "Walker Wins Race For Milwaukee County Executive," April 6, 2014
  46. Milwaukee County, "April 6, 2004 Election Results," accessed February 18, 2011
  47. Milwaukee County, "April 1, 2008 Election Results," accessed February 18, 2011
  48. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Walker would lower salary givebacks," March 19, 2008
  49. 49.0 49.1 NPR, "Election 2010: AP Election Guide," accessed July 25, 2014
  50. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Insurance firm must pay big part of O'Donnell Park verdict, judge says," February 10, 2014
  51. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Probe of Scott Walker's aides may factor in O'Donnell Park death trial," October 6, 2013
  52. Wisconsin Right to Life, "ABOUT SCOTT WALKER," accessed July 25, 2014
  53. Politico, "Walker: 2016 talk is 'flattering'," December 1, 2013
  54. Huffington Post, "Scott Walker On 2016: 'I Wouldn't Bet Against Me'," accessed February 4, 2015
  55. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Race tightens, with Scott Walker, Mary Burke tied among registered voters," May 21, 2014
  56. The Guardian, "Wisconsin governor Scott Walker survives bitterly fought recall election," June 6, 2012
  57. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Gov. Scott Walker calls for Legislature to repeal Common Core standards," July 17, 2014
  58. WKOW Madison, "Burke supports sticking with Common Core in WI," July 19, 2014
  59. The Cook Political Report, "2014 GOVERNORS RACE RATINGS FOR JULY 30, 2014," accessed July 31, 2014
  60. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Two Burkes on ballot for governor," July 11, 2014
  61. The Cap Times, "John Nichols: Libertarians give Wisconsin another option," July 1, 2014
  62. Wausau Daily Herald, "Letter: More than two are running for governor," July 16, 2014
  63. Dennis Fehr for Governor, "About our Candidate," accessed July 9, 2014
  64. Democratic Party of Wisconsin, "Candidates," accessed July 31, 2014
  65. Associated Press, "Debate: Gov. Scott Walker, Mary Burke disagree on Wisconsin's economy," October 17, 2014
  66. 66.0 66.1 WKOW, "Walker, Burke spar in first gubernatorial debate," October 10, 2014
  67. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Walker recall effort to get underway Nov. 15," October 10, 2011
  68. WTAQ, "Recall elections officially ordered against Gov. Walker, 5 other GOP lawmakers," March 30, 2012
  69. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "We recommend Walker; his removal isn't justified," May 19, 2012
  70. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "G.A.B. Canvass Reporting System," December 8, 2010
  71. 71.0 71.1 Milwaukee County Elections Commission, "2008 Spring Election Results," April 1, 2008
  72. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Scott Walker," accessed May 6, 2013
  73. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
  74. 74.0 74.1 74.2 United States Census Bureau, "QuickFacts Beta," accessed March 24, 2015
  75. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Wisconsin Election Results," accessed March 24, 2015
  76. The American Presidency Project, "Presidential Elections Data," accessed March 24, 2015
  77. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Doyle (D)
Governor of Wisconsin
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Janine Geske
Milwaukee County Executive
Succeeded by
Lee Holloway
Preceded by
David Cullen (D)
Wisconsin State Assembly District 14
Succeeded by
Leah Vukmir (R)