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Mitch Perry Report for 8.18.15 — It’s not going as planned for Scott Walker

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Four years ago, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was considered a strong challenger to Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination. Then the Iowa Straw Poll happened. Pawlenty fared poorly, and on August 11, 2011,  he was stunningly out of the race.

Flash forward four years later: Is Scott Walker this year’s version of Tim Pawlenty?

Walker has been considered all year by many commentators (and this reporter) as among the top-tier candidates for the nomination. And nowhere has the Wisconsin governor been strongest than in the neighboring state of Iowa, the site of the first election that matters next year, the caucuses on February 1.

But Walker is starting to falter in the Hawkeye State. A CNN poll released over the weekend shows Walker now tied for fifth place, with 6 percent support.

Now comes a report in The New York Times that says that the campaign has reached out to a Georgia-based strategist named Scott Rials to join Walker’s struggling effort. Rials declined. Obviously, the Walker camp realizes they need something to jolt its efforts.

A Walker spokesperson tells The Times that they know Donald Trump will falter in the next few months, and they’re not feeling that bad about where they’re at (the spokesperson says they fear Ted Cruz, not Trump).

The problem is their candidate: Walker said yesterday that he agreed with Trump on the NYC businessman’s much hyped but sort of laughable three-point immigration plan announced on Sunday, which would include deporting illegal immigrants, making Mexico pay for a wall on the southern border and ending birthright citizenship (though he later backed off on that).

You might recall that one of the conclusions in the Republican National Committee’s “autopsy” written in 2013 was to stop GOP erosion of support from Latino voters. Walker didn’t read it, apparently.

On the stump, Walker is less impressive than Marco Rubio and even Jeb Bush. His big calling card has been winning three elections in four years in a blue state, while at the same time thwarting the unions. That CV turned on folks like the Koch Brothers and others in the GOP establishment when this race began. But Walker has been singularly unimpressive on the stump. While some Republicans who are down in the polls now will make a comeback in the fall and winter, I wouldn’t be surprised if Walker isn’t one of them.

In other news….

While Vice President Joe Biden continues to contemplate his possible entry into the 2016 presidential sweepstakes, Florida Democratic Party strategist Steve Schale says you can count him in if Biden gets in.

Orlando U.S. Rep. and Democratic Senate candidate Alan Grayson is proposing legislation that would increase the cost-of-living allowance for seniors whom he contends have been getting ripped off for years by the government.

As a new series of meetings begins with the Go Hillsborough transportation tax plan, County Administrator Mike Merrill has reintroduced the concept of a making it a full cent-tax, and not just half-a-cent.

And Sunshine Citizens, the grassroots activist group formed to oppose the state Department of Transportation proposal on adding toll lanes to I-275, are now targeting the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce for its support of the plan.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at [email protected]

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