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Scott Walker to bow out of GOP presidential race

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who was once considered one of the front-runners for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, will announce that he is quitting the race at 6 p.m. Eastern time. That’s according to an initial report from The New York Times that has now been confirmed by the other sources.

“The short answer is money,” an anonymous supporter of Walker tells The Times. “He’s made a decision not to limp into Iowa.”

The writing on the wall for Walker came on Sunday, when a CNN/ORC poll shockingly had him at below one half of one percent in the polls.

As the governor of nearby Wisconsin, Walker had been pinning much of his hopes on winning in the state of Iowa, where the caucuses kick off the voting season next February. And for several months, Walker led in the polls in the Hawkeye State.

But the ascendance this summer of Donald Trump hurt Walker tremendously, and his poll numbers started dipping in Iowa over the past month. A Quinnipiac poll released last week in Iowa had Walker at just three percent, a 15 percentage-point drop in the polls since early July. That put him in eighth place there.

Walker became a contender for the nomination after he won re-election for governor last year in Wisconsin. It was his third victory in four years in what he called a blue state. A year after being elected for his first term in 2010, he made severe changes to public sector collective bargaining in Wisconsin, known as Act 10. The uproar over those moves led to a recall election later in 2011. He won that recall election, a feat never before achieved by a sitting U.S. governor. The law virtually eliminated collective bargaining by public workers.

Walker thought that success would translate on the national level, but it didn’t move the needle for him. Last week he called for the end of public sector labor unions, abolishing the federal labor relations board and enacting a national right-to-work law as part of his plan to take his Wisconsin battle with labor unions to the White House.

That won’t be happening now. However, he does return to Wisconsin to serve out the remaining three years of his term. At 47, he certainly would seem to still have a future in American politics.

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 mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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