Updated 6:20 p.m. | Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker exited from the presidential race Monday evening after one of the more stunning falls in recent American politics — from a perch atop the Iowa polls before the Summer of Trump left him as roadkill.
Walker urged other candidates to drop out as well so that the party can consolidate someone with a positive vision can topple Trump.
“Today I believe that I am being called to lead, by helping to clear the field in this race so [someone with] a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field,” he said. “I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same, so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current frontrunner. This is fundamentally important to the future of our party, and more importantly to the future of our country.”
Walker said the party’s debates had been dominated by personal attacks, in what appeared to be an indictment of Trump.
Trump, for his part, was gracious as another Republican competitor was vanquished.
Walker’s team had staked out a decent rationale for his candidacy — that he could unite the giant divide between establishment and anti-establishment Republicans as an outsider with a track record of enacting conservative policies and winning in a blue state.
Walker’s super PAC raised millions and his early poll numbers sparkled. He attracted a number of campaign operatives from Washington — a fact that didn’t endear him to the likes of Breitbart, the conservative website that has helped fuel the rise of anti-establishment candidates.
Walker was also buffeted by the wake from Donald Trump’s megasplash into the race, waffling on the issue of immigration and birthright citizenship. He also faced the personal wrath of Trump, who ripped Walker’s handling of Wisconsin’s finances.
The second GOP debate didn’t do him any favors, as he had a fairly tepid attack on Trump and got less talk time than most of the other candidates on stage.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign manager said the exit was about the money .
In a CNN/ORC poll released Sunday, Walker was polling less than 0.5 percent — a disaster.
On Twitter, AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka cheered the reports; Walker’s successful attacks on public employee unions in his state of course made him the top enemy of organized labor.
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