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Friday, September 22, 2023
Scott Walker (copy)

Gov. Scott Walker was unable to halt his falling poll numbers after a lackluster performance at the second GOP debate.

Scott Walker’s campaign takes hit after second debate

When Gov. Scott Walker took the stage last Wednesday for the second Republican debate, it was amid popular opinion that the onetime poll leader needed a strong showing to regain his form.

Yet many in the media are questioning whether Walker delivered that type of performance, with commentators throughout the state and nation wondering if the governor was able to convey his ideas when he had the least speaking time of the 11 candidates.

Walker campaign manager Rick Wiley said his candidate looked strong in his brief sparring with current front-runner Donald Trump and that his message came across even when he wasn’t speaking.

"Gov. Walker wore his Harley boots tonight, and it showed ... He put Donald Trump in his place early on, and the billionaire never recovered," Wiley said in a statement following the debate. "Even when he wasn’t speaking, Walker’s ideas ... dominated the discussion.”

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza disagreed, writing that Walker’s presence at the debate was almost nonexistent.

“If anyone needed a moment (or three) in this debate, it was the Wisconsin governor. He didn't get one,” Cillizza wrote immediately after the debate. “Despite a relatively prime stage position -- he was standing next to Jeb Bush in the center-right of the stage -- Walker was sort of a nonentity. He needed to make headlines; he didn't.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Patrick Marley noted that while Walker was more aggressive than in the first debate, other candidates were more adept at breaking in to make points.

“Walker wasn't as successful with this strategy as some others,” Marley wrote. “By contrast, former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina and others often refused to be cut off.”

Still, despite Walker’s polling numbers continuing to dwindle, Harry Enten, a political analyst for, said that he has time to make up ground before primary season hits.

“It’s September 2015. The Iowa caucus is scheduled for Feb. 1, 2016. Unless Walker is running out of money, it’s not that dire,” Enten said during a live blog of the debate.

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