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Scott Walker Enters the Presidential Race to Both Hopes and Fears

On Monday, the popular Gov. Scott Walker launched his 2016 presidential bid from Wisconsin. As he enters, he is already a favorite to win with his high polling numbers and bevy of grassroots enthusiasm. Since Walker is both a social and fiscal conservative, he is considered a natural fit for the Iowa caucus. Yet, there are still doubts as some critics believe he lacks charisma--especially when competing with candidates such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Donald Trump.

In addition, GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak said “He has to prove he can perform at a high level over the long haul.” In fact, even if he does win the Iowa caucus, it won't ensure a nomination. The last two winners of the Iowa GOP caucuses were former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2008 and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) in 2012. Craig Robinson, the former political director for the Iowa Republican Party stated “He’s clearly the front-runner and there’s a lot of interest in him here. But he still has a lot of work to do.”

From his presidential announcement at the Waukesha County Expo Center, Walker will spend one day each in Nevada, South Carolina and New Hampshire, before beginning an all-out blitz in Iowa that includes 11 stops over three days. He'll also begin in states with primaries and caucuses in early March, including Georgia, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina. Currently, Walker trails Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in polls in New Hampshire, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said “He has to win or show well in Iowa. If he doesn’t, he’s in real trouble.” Republicans like that Walker exhibits the potential to draw on Tea Party conservatives, social conservatives and establishment-minded Republicans. Some argue that his fight against public sector unions has to be the cornerstone of his campaign.

At the Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner in suburban Detroit in May, Walker said he cut taxes in Wisconsin by $2 billion, cut back on regulations, turned a $3.6 billion budget deficit into a half-billion dollar surplus, fully funded the state’s pension system and reduced unemployment from 9.2 percent to 4.6 percent, while achieving one of the highest labor participation rates in the country at 68 percent. Moreover, he's got to convey more than just his biography if he's going to beat Jeb Bush. After Iowa, he'll either emerge as a front-runner or a former top contender struggling to maintain his position.

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