Government

Scott Walker backing Kim Reynolds in 2018

Wisconsin governor likes her 'common-sense reforms'

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at a town hall event at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in July 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at a town hall event at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in July 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
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DES MOINES — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is getting help with her 2018 election bid from a border-state Republican ally.

The Kim Reynolds for Iowa Committee announced Thursday the endorsement of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a prominent GOP conservative who embarked on a 2016 presidential campaign that ended before Iowa’s Feb. 1 precinct caucuses.

After launching a promising campaign that collapsed amid tepid debate performances and missteps, Walker promoted the Trump-Pence ticket to Iowa delegations to the GOP National Convention in Cleveland and raised money to help Iowa Republicans capture control of the Iowa Senate in 2016.

“Gov. Reynolds is a strong leader whose bold vision promises a bright future for the people of Iowa. She works tirelessly for Iowa's hardworking families, and I'm proud to endorse her and the common-sense reforms she’s advancing in her state,” Walker said in a statement issued by the Reynolds campaign.

Walker joins Iowa’s U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey in backing Reynolds’ first statewide bid as a gubernatorial candidate.

Before becoming governor in May, Reynolds, beginning in 2011, served as lieutenant governor for former Gov. Terry Branstad, who stepped down to become U.S. ambassador to China.

The Democratic Governors Association reacted to Walker’s endorsement, noting his shrinking poll numbers in Iowa during his failed 2016 presidential bid.

“It makes sense that Gov. Scott Walker is encouraging his dozens of Iowa supporters to back Gov. Kim Reynolds in her primary,” said DGA Communications Director Jared Leopold. “Both Walker and Reynolds are pushing extreme agendas in their states, curbing worker’s rights, attacking women’s health care and cutting funding for schools.

“Iowa voters already said ‘no thanks’ to Walker once. Reynolds should hope it doesn’t happen again.”

Reynolds is leading an Iowa trade mission to China where she is expected to be reunited with Branstad, but before leaving the state she issued a campaign statement saying, “Scott Walker is a great friend and governor, and his support means a lot as we build toward our run for governor.

“Gov. Walker’s leadership has transformed Wisconsin into a pro-jobs, high quality-of-life destination. His leadership has set the example for his fellow 33 Republican governors in the U.S.”

Reynolds faces a June primary challenge from Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, a former speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives who has raised more than $1 million in campaign contributions and commitments.

The Democratic Governors Association reacted to Walker’s endorsement, noting his shrinking poll numbers in Iowa during his failed 2016 presidential bid.

“It makes sense that Gov. Scott Walker is encouraging his dozens of Iowa supporters to back Gov. Kim Reynolds in her primary,” said DGA Communications Director Jared Leopold. “Both Walker and Reynolds are pushing extreme agendas in their states, curbing worker’s rights, attacking women’s health care, and cutting funding for schools. Iowa voters already said ‘no thanks’ to Walker once. Reynolds should hope it doesn’t happen again.”

l Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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