Which Candidate Will Pick Up Scott Walker's Support In Iowa? It's Tough To Tell

Sep 24, 2015

Scott Walker

It wasn't long ago when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was at the top of the polls in Iowa.

Now, Walker's out of the race.

So which Republican candidate will reap the benefits?

"It’s kind of hard to tell," Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters told NHPR's Morning Edition. "Political talent here is just stretched so thin because of all the Republicans presidential candidates. Both former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaigns are saying they’re picking up some support."

Masters says establishment candidates may have a difficult time swaying Walker's supporters to their campaigns.

"One of our state senators who had been backing Gov. Walker was quoted as saying that the governors left in the race are no Scott Walkers," Masters said. "People here liked him because of what he had done in Wisconsin."

You can read the full transcript of our interview with Clay Masters below:

Let’s start with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s announcement this week he’s dropping out of the race. He had been slumping badly in the polls in Iowa, so did this come as a surprise to his supporters?

It was a big surprise because of his play early on here. He was doing really well atop the polls, but not really a big surprise if you think about how he had been performing lately, especially in those two recent presidential debates. You go way back to January, our firebrand Congressman Republican Steve King had an all-day forum. No one had announced officially they were running, and Scott Walker was there. He was a fresh face, gave a real fiery speech, the union-busting Wisconsin governor. But these poor debate performances followed by a CNN poll that registered him as just an asterisk; when you take all of that into consideration, it wasn’t that big of a surprise, and he was only in the race for two months.

Now that Walker’s out, are there certain candidates who could benefit?

It’s kind of hard to tell. Political talent here is just stretched so thin because of all the Republicans presidential candidates. Both former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaigns are saying they’re picking up some support. One of our state senators who had been backing Gov. Walker was quoted as saying that the governors left in the race are no Scott Walkers. People here liked him because of what he had done in Wisconsin. It’s just hard to tell with so many presidential candidates on the Republican side in the state and you have a population a little north of 3 million people.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was Des Moines this week, where she finally made her position on the controversial Keystone Pipeline project known. You covered that event. What did she have to say?

Credit NHPR Staff

It’s interesting, backing up just last month, I had a one-on-one interview with her and asked her if she’s opposed to pipelines because I knew she wasn’t taking a side directly on the Keystone XL Pipeline. She said her heavy bias was for clean energy and wouldn’t say no to any new pipelines. But this week she was at a Des Moines elementary school to unveil a plan for lowering prescription drug prices. It was during a question-and-answer portion of the campaign stop when a college student asked her to make her stance clear on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Clinton called the project a distraction from the work of combating climate change and it interferes with the ability to make progress on climate change and said she opposes it. She says she plans for a North American approach to fight climate change, which she plans to unveil in the coming weeks.

In the Democratic race, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders holds a sizeable lead over Clinton in New Hampshire. What do the polls show in Iowa?

There was a recent poll from Quinnipiac University that showed Sanders just one point ahead of Clinton, which was a surprise to see a more gold standard poll recently showed Sanders within seven points of Clinton. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee put out a statement after Clinton said she opposes the Keystone XL Pipeline, saying this is just Bernie Sanders pushing Clinton to the left, so there’s definitely some competition going on between the two here in Iowa.