Vice President Mike Pence will be in Milwaukee on Wednesday to help fill Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign coffers.
Pence is scheduled to host a fundraiser for the Republican governor at night. During the day, he will talk about the Republican tax plan at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. The group America First Policies is hosting the event.
The Vice President’s appearance happens as Walker warns of a “blue wave” that could wash over Wisconsin this fall.
Walker is seeking re-election to a third term in November and a crowded field of Democrats has lined up in hopes of challenging him. He’s been signaling that it’s going to be a tough election.
When Democratic state Sen. Patty Schachtner won a special election in January to replace Republican Sheila Harsdorf, Walker called the victory a “wakeup call.”
Then, Milwaukee Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet, who was supported by Democrats, won a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court earlier this month, beating out a conservative judge. Walker tweeted “We are at risk of a blue wave in Wisconsin,” and said it could be coming for him in November.
UW-Milwaukee Political Scientist Kathleen Dolan says getting support from big names like Vice President Mike Pence could help Walker remain competitive in this mid-term election year.
“Gov. Walker has been working hard in the past month or so to get Republicans in the state motivated and mobilized and make them feel as if complacency is not the way for him to win reelection, so somebody as high visibility as the Vice President certainly is a great draw for Gov. Walker for fundraising,” she says.
In addition to heavy hitters such as Mike Pence holding fundraisers, Dolan says, the Koch Brothers and others who’ve supported him in the past are expected to pour millions into the race on Walker’s behalf.
UW-Madison Political Science Professor David Canon thinks both sides will spend record amounts on this year’s governor’s race – with much of it coming from outside groups.
“The 2014 governor’s race, involving Scott Walker’s re-election, spent $82 million in that campaign, which is more than twice the amount spent in 2010, where only $37 million was spent so, we’re potentially looking at the first $100 million race in Wisconsin in 2018,” he says.
With Pence being less controversial than President Trump, Canon says, it’s safer to have the Vice President holding fundraisers for Republican candidates right now. He says it’s too early to tell if voters will see President Trump himself stumping for Walker as it gets closer to November.
“If his popularity remains as low as it is right now, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Governor tries to distance himself at least a little bit from President Trump, but it’s a risky balancing act because Trump does have strong supporters in the state so Gov. Walker doesn’t want to alienate that part of the Republican base,” Canon says.
Meanwhile, those opposed to Walker also likely will see some big money flowing to them. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who campaigned for Rebecca Dallet in the Supreme Court race, has said his group is targeting Walker. And, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer says he’ll also pour money into defeating Walker in November.