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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Friday, March 24, 2006

Walker, Tosa Ranger rides off into sunset

So long, Tosa Ranger*

As you've no doubt heard (and, if you haven't heard, shut down the computer for a while, for goodness' sake), Scott Walker is out of the governer's race:
Walker, who entered the race officially in January 2005, pinned his withdrawal on a failure to meet ramped-up fundraising goals designed to compete with Doyle’s expected biggest-ever campaign war chest.

"It became clear to me that our fundraising totals would only allow us to run a campaign in a fraction of the 72 counties in this state," Walker said. "In addition, our resources would be so limited that most of it would likely be spent on ads attacking our Republican opponent." He called that an "unappealing option for me" and one that would only bolster Doyle’s re-election hopes. [. . .] Walker said his campaign fundraising fell short of keeping up with Doyle’s record-setting pace, revealed in the late-January campaign reports. Walker said a new minimum goal he set for the end of March was "unfortunately" not reached.

Walker said he prayed on the decision this week before making it, much as he had before his January 2005 announcement entering the race.

"I believe that it was God’s will for me to run. After a great deal of prayer during the last week, it is clear that it is God’s will for me to step out of the race."
I have to say I'm surprised, given that just last night, Scott emailed me. Well, his campaign sent me the "Walker Weekly #56." Nothing in there about Jesus telling him to quit.

As soon as I heard this, it made sense to me why Ken Mehlman, of the Republucan National Committee was in town yesterday--to clear the field. But still, I wouldn't have called this, not at all. Tomorrow, when I'm not so tired and will need to procrastinate instead of grading papers, I will try to catch up with the right half of the Cheddarsphere, and see what they're saying.

Update: As long as WisOpinion is sending people here to read this, let me add one thing about what I would do now were I Jim Doyle: Make this about scandal. I know it sounds tricky, given the past few months, but remember that Mark Green was caucus chair while much of what Scott Jensen was convicted for was going on, and Green campaign manager Mark Graul is linked to Jack Abramoff. Doyle would do well to boot anyone with the smallest taint of scandal from his campaign staff, declare that the people have spoken and that they are tired of scandal, and dare Mark Green to clean house the same way. Write up a real ethics pledge, and a package of reforms that ought to include Arizona-atyle public financing of campaigns, and force Green to sign on. When Green waffles, he'll look bad, bad, bad.

I'm not saying Doyle is going to have a necessarily easy time trying to look scandal-free (to pre-empt Deb Jordahl), but if he gets out in front and sets the terms of the debate, he might have a good chance at it.

* Stacie is due all credit for this nickname.

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