Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was the first speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this morning, urging voters who are discouraged about the race for the White House to not forget about gubernatorial races.
“Some of you may be confused and dare I say upset” about the current state of the presidential contest, Walker acknowledged, assuring the audience “the conservative movement is alive and well” despite the campaign tumult.
The vice-chairman of the Republican Governors Association stressed that the number of Democratic governors has dropped from 28 to 18 during President Obama’s tenure.
He highlighted Matt Bevin’s election last fall in Kentucky as a “sign of how far conservatives have come” in the last 7 years.
“We have a chance this fall to grow that number, but first we need to protect conservatives” in governor’s mansions like Indiana’s Mike Pence, Walker argued.
Overall, the governor said, Obama’s “been an incredible recruiter for conservative candidates.”
Walker, who dropped out of the GOP presidential race early in the cycle, then steered into a speech that sounded like he was on the stump again. He talked about achievements in lowering Wisconsin’s unemployment, stressing that “last year we had one of the largest number of people working in our state in our entire history.”
“We got government out of the way,” he added.
But “no matter what you think about what’s happening in the presidential election don’t give up — we need you in the states,” Walker emphasized. “We need people at the grassroots knocking on doors.”
Despite people’s feeling about the presidential race, he stressed, “governors and conservative lawmakers are pushing positive reforms across this country” and need volunteers and voters at the polls.
After Walker’s address, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) urged CPAC attendees to “nominate a strong conservative leader who will defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton or Bernie Sanders” — but she didn’t name names.
Ernst campaigned with “near and dear” colleague at an Iowa rally, but has not endorsed anyone in the primary.
Arguing that the country need a strong foreign policy commander in chief who will help our allies and protect our national security, Ernst just left it at: “We have extraordinary Republican candidates across the board.”