There is one candidate that appears best positioned to benefit from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s decision on Monday to end his bid for the presidency: Marco Rubio.
While being a tea party favorite, he also has cross over appeal as a candidate the GOP could get behind. Rubio also came out of last week’s Republican presidential debate with the wind at his back, leaping up to 4th place in a new CNN poll with 11 percent support, behind Trump at 24 percent, Fiorina at 15 and Carson at 14. Jeb Bush is currently in 5th place, holding steady at 9 percent.
In his speech announcing the suspension of his campaign, Gov. Scott Walker appeared to perhaps be alluding to Rubio when he stated that Republicans needed to get behind a candidate who “has an optimistic view of America” like Ronald Reagan did.
Walker called on other GOP candidates to leave the race to allow the anti-Trump vote to coalesce. “I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same [as I did] so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner. This is fundamentally important to the future of the party and, more importantly, to the future of our country,” he said.
Rubio was quick to praise Walker, most likely in an outreach to Walker’s supporters. The candidate posted on Facebook Monday night:
Scott Walker is a good man who entered the presidential race after winning three grueling campaigns in four years. I know many people are disappointed with Scott’s announcement and I respect what a difficult decision it must have been. He remains one of the best governors in the country and I have no doubt that he’ll continue the fight for conservative principles. Republicans are lucky to have Scott on our team, and I wish the best to him and his family.
Walker’s New Hampshire campaign co-chair has already signed on with Rubio, which he announced shortly before the governor withdrew from the race. “I have great admiration and respect for my friend Scott Walker,” Cliff Hurst, the Granite State’s former GOP vice chairman said. “However, it is clear to me that his campaign is going in a different direction at this time. I believe the New Hampshire primary will be critically important to determining who our next president will be.”
Senior adviser Jim Merrill praised Hurst, according to WMUR. “It’s an honor to earn Cliff’s endorsement and for him to agree to serve as a co-chair of Marco’s campaign here in New Hampshire,” Merrill said. “Cliff is not only one of our state’s most highly regarded grassroots leaders, but is also one of the most decent people I’ve known in my years in politics,” he added.
The Des Moines Register’s chief political reporter also tweeted that key Walker supporters in Iowa are signing on with Rubio.
4 Walker leaders go to Rubio: Melody Slater/Lee Co, Matt Giese/Dubuque, Alan Ostergren/Muscatine & Iowa Students for Walker’s Brittany Gaura
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) September 22, 2015
Conservative commentator Erick Erickson stated that he also believes many Walker donors will likely get behind Rubio now.
Most of the high dollar Walker donors I’ve talked to had Rubio as their second choice. — Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) September 21, 2015
h/t: Yahoo Politics