Scott Walker to quit presidential race after stunning fall: New York Times report

Wisconsin governor's reported withdrawal comes after spate of dismal poll numbers

Published September 21, 2015 8:23PM (EDT)

  (Charlie Neibergall)
(Charlie Neibergall)

In one of the most precipitous declines for a major presidential candidate in modern political history, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is set to withdraw his bid for the Republican presidential nomination this afternoon, the New York Times reports:

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has concluded he no longer has a path to the Republican presidential nomination and plans to drop out of the 2016 campaign, according to three Republicans familiar with his decision, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Mr. Walker called a news conference in Madison at 6 p.m. Eastern time.

The union-busting Walker, who led surveys of GOP voters nationally and in the crucial early states of Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this year, consistently failed to impress after pivoting from a hard-fought re-election battle in Wisconsin last year to a national campaign.

Once tipped as a leading contender for megadonor support, Walker created unease in elite circles with stumbling responses to questions about the Islamic State terrorist group, birthright citizenship, and President Obama's religious heritage.

Moreover, the rise of Donald Trump among conservatives badly damaged Walker's hopes of emerging as the conservative alternative to establishment frontrunner Jeb Bush. Late this summer, Walker surrendered his lead in Iowa to Trump, and his national standing plummeted as well; a CNN poll released this weekend showed him with 0 percent support.

In response to his declining poll numbers, Walker had planned to focus intensively on winning the Iowa caucuses, but such a strategy has failed previous candidates who fell from grace, including then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry in 2012. Unlike Perry, Walker will be spared an embarrassing showing in the Hawkeye State -- but his withdrawal just two months after entering the presidential race to much fanfare, is nothing less than a humiliating blow.


By Luke Brinker

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