Bloomberg News

Romney in Uphill Fight Against Obama in Wisconsin, Governor Walker Says

February 24, 2012

Mitt Romney at the Associated Builders and Contractors National Meeting at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix on Feb. 23, 2012. Photographer: Gerald Herbert/AP

Mitt Romney at the Associated Builders and Contractors National Meeting at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix on Feb. 23, 2012. Photographer: Gerald Herbert/AP

Mitt Romney will “do very well” in Wisconsin if he wins the Republican presidential nomination, Governor Scott Walker said, although President Barack Obama has the edge heading into the November election.

Walker, a 44-year-old Republican who took office after the 2010 elections that also gave the party a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, said “conventional wisdom” in his state is that Romney will face Obama. The president stands to gain from any improvement in the economy, he said.

“Any time you have an incumbent, it’s always an uphill battle,” Walker said on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend.

“If they feel like we’re headed toward greater prosperity not only in Wisconsin (USUSWI), but across the country, then I think the president’s going to continue,” Walker said.

Walker, who may face a recall after clashing with public- employee unions over a law that curbs their bargaining power, said he isn’t going to endorse a candidate. He said he’s focused on keeping his job.

The governor, who is the former executive of Milwaukee County, backed the labor restrictions, which prompted weeks of protests and occupations of the Capitol. At least 1 million people signed petitions to force him from office, almost as many as voted for him in 2010. If the state’s Government Accountability Board validates enough signatures, an election will be held in May or June.

Forced to Raise

Walker has raised more than $12 million since January 2011, including $4.5 million between Dec. 11 and Jan. 17, according to the Government Accountability Board.

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a branch of the group founded by the billionaire Koch brothers known for giving to conservative causes, backed a $700,000 advertising campaign to defend him, the Washington Post reported this month.

“I wouldn’t have to spend a penny, wouldn’t have to spend a penny, wouldn’t be raising a penny, there wouldn’t be any money on TV right now if it wasn’t for the out-of-state unions and the money they’re not only spending now,” he said. “We wouldn’t have this fight if it weren’t for the tens of millions of dollars that were spent in the recall election.”

The governor said Republican presidential candidates have gone “too far” in criticism of unions.

“All these different debates and forums, it skews toward trying to define things as to how can you appeal to the primary base,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Selway in Washington at wselway@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net


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