Speaking to a barn full of supporters here, Scott Walker delivers some surprising news: “It is hard to believe, but this is actually my first reelection.”
The line draws peals of laughter. Walker is in the midst of his third gubernatorial campaign in four years. Two years after winning his first term in 2010, he became the first governor in U.S. history to win a recall election, and now in 2014, he must run yet a third time to secure a second term.
“One of my favorite signs at our kickoff in April was a guy who made a hand-made sign that said ‘three-peat,’ ” Walker tells the crowd. (Full disclosure: I co-authored a book with Walker, “Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge.”)
But a Walker three-peat is no sure thing. The governor has certainly amassed a record of achievement that should make him a shoe-in for reelection. He took a $3.6 billion deficit and turned it into a $1 billion surplus. After the state lost 133,000 jobs and 27,000 businesses under Gov. Jim Doyle (D), Walker created more than 100,000 jobs and added 20,000 new businesses. The unemployment rate dropped from 7.1 percent to 5.7 percent today. After years of double-digit tax increases, Walker cut taxes for every taxpayer in the state.