Is Walker Money?

Gotta say, Scott Walker’s gotten an awful lot of juice out of one red-meat speech in Des Moines. He’s not only leading or contending for the lead in GOP polls in Iowa and New Hampshire; he’s also getting some support from the “Establishment” donor types who are mostly going for Jebbie, per this report from the Wall Street Journal‘s Rebecca Ballhaus and Heather Haddon:

Several GOP fundraisers from the financial-services industry and other Manhattan business sectors are hosting donor events for Mr. Walker, a likely presidential candidate, when he visits New York next week….

They include hedge-fund manager Anthony Scaramucci, who says he has given $100,000 to Mr. Walker’s political-action committee and has set up meetings for him with around two-dozen donors in New York next week. He said his goal is to introduce Mr. Walker to more than 1,000 potential backers in the U.S. in the next six months.

But then there’s this warning to enthusiasts for Walker:

No Republican contender is likely to outraise Mr. Bush, who has already launched an aggressive, 60-event fundraising effort his team has dubbed a “shock and awe” campaign. For at least six of the events, Mr. Bush’s team is asking for $100,000 per couple, according to a person familiar with the events. They include one held Wednesday night in New York and another set for next week in Palm Beach, Fla. A spokesman for Mr. Bush declined to discuss fundraising details.

Jebbie is clearly aiming at obtaining the front-runner status that both helped and endangered Mitt Romney in 2012 by a blunt combination of name ID and money. This could presumably encourage some people on the fence about running–e.g., Kasich, Pence, Rubio, possibly even Huck–to give the race a pass. But Walker’s fundraising potential is a big wild card. Let’s remember that the guy who most resembled Walker (in everything other than nastiness) in 2012, Tim Pawlenty, ultimately withdrew from the race because he ran out of money after a failed attempt to win the Ames Straw Poll. So he never really got the chance to find out whether primary voters might have ultimately turned to him as an acceptable fallback in the midst of a knife-fight between Mitt Romney and his unelectable right-wing challengers. Deep pockets could keep this kind of candidate alive for a good while even if there are stumbles along the way.

And aside from whatever he can rustle up in Wall Street, let’s not forget Walker’s excellent relationship with the Koch Brothers. He did not appear in public during last month’s Koch Donor Network event in California, but did show up to pay his respects to the Bros and presumably press some of the right flesh in private. His could be the fundraising numbers to watch in the immediate future, along, of course, with seeing if Bush can give the impression he’s got all of the money.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.