Conservative donors hustle to save Scott Walker's reelection

The NRA, the Koch brothers and Wall Street hedge fund billionaires are all swooping in to rescue the embattled guv

Published September 18, 2014 5:06PM (EDT)

  (AP/Jeffrey Phelps)
(AP/Jeffrey Phelps)

With his third campaign in the past four years turning out to be his toughest yet, Wisconsin GOP governor and potential future presidential candidate Scott Walker's wealthiest conservative friends are battening down the hatches and readying to spend big to ensure his reelection, the Associated Press reports.

Coming on the heels of multiple polls showing the race between Walker and his Democratic rival, businesswoman Mary Burke, all but tied, the National Rifle Association and an arm of the Republican Governors Association will run in Wisconsin this week no less than $525,000 worth of pro-Walker television ads. The former group reportedly also has a $1 million ad buy booked until midway through October, which they plan to re-up if the race stays competitive.

Overall, the AP reports that GOP-leaning spending on the race has already reached $7 million, and Dem-leaning spending is already more than $5 million.

The RGA, meanwhile, has already spent $3 million this year alone on Walker's reelection, a development that's notable not only for how it showcases the GOP's institutional loyalty to Walker, but also because the current chair of the group is New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie — a Walker ally who may soon become a 2016 competitor. But because Walker is popular among the RGA's biggest donors, like the Koch brothers and hedge fund titan Paul Singer, the Christie-Walker relationship is currently working to both men's benefit.

More from the Associated Press:

...Walker's nervousness about the election is showing.

"I think it's a matter of fatigue," Walker said during a recent visit to his Madison campaign offices. "People forget but this is, at best, a purple state, probably leans historically blue."

Momentum appears to be turning to Walker's side, according to a Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday.

In August, 59 percent of registered voters who said they are Republicans and 60 percent of Democrats said they were very enthusiastic about voting, according to the poll. But this month, the share of Republicans who said they were very enthusiastic rose to 67 percent while the Democratic number was unchanged.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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