His fight with public employees could excite Republican leaders and convention delegates, especially those from the Tea Party, as they mobilize for the national elections in November.
If Walker loses the recall election, he could make a lot of money on the conservative speaking circuit.
Walker understands the financial potential. In an interview with Milwaukee’s conservative radio talk-show host Charles Sykes, Walker said he could make “real money” in the private sector if he loses.
Democrats are using his comments in their appeal to raise money. They say the governor’s current salary and fringe-benefit package amounts to more than $171,000, and that doesn’t include the use of the Maple Bluff mansion and its staff.
Polling indicates the public is divided on recalling Walker. There are few undecided in the early spring polls, and the reported splits are within the margin of statistical error. That means the race is a tossup.
A key deciding factor is whether Wisconsin voters will be required to show a photo identification card to get a ballot in the election. The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the bill, and Walker signed it into law. Republicans say it will prevent voter fraud.
Critics have challenged the law as violating the state constitution. Republicans say the U.S. Supreme Court would allow it, but the law isn’t being challenged in federal court. The focus is the state constitution.
The Republican-controlled state Justice Department wants to bypass the appeals court and get the case quickly and directly to the state Supreme Court, where conservatives hold a 4-3 margin. It is a clear effort to make sure the photo ID law is in place for the June recall elections.
It wouldn’t be the first time Republicans have pushed for quick action by the state Supreme Court. The GOP wanted a quick decision on the governor’s anti-labor legislation.
Surely, the court’s four conservatives would favor the Republican position on the voter photo ID bill. One choice would be to let it go into effect for the recall elections while legal arguments are being drafted.
Testimony about the law in one of the circuit court trials indicated that, under the law, the people likely to lose the ability to vote in the recall are the poor, disabled and elderly. Those sound like people who might vote for the yet-to-be selected Democratic candidates.
A favorable photo ID ruling probably means Walker won’t have to worry about finding a job. And it could guarantee him cheers and wild applause at the GOP convention in Tampa.
Matt Pommer worked as reporter in Madison for 35 years. He comments on state political and policy issues.