Governor Scott Walker will deliver the keynote address at a GOP fundraiser in Iowa in May, fueling speculation that he might have presidential ambitions.
Walker will address the Polk County GOP Spring fundraiser in West Des Moines on May 23. Asked today in Chippewa Falls why he was speaking in the state home to the nation's first presidential caucuses, Walker was nonchalant:
"Because Terry Brandstad's a friend of mine — the Governor there — and he asked me to come on over. I came there in the past to Iowa for that reason. I've gone to Arkansas and Texas and Florida and other states for the same request, so it's as simple as people asking."
University of Northern Iowa Political Science Professor Donna Hoffman says anyone with national ambitions who visits Iowa generally gets some attention.
"So that doesn't mean that he's necessarily going to be a candidate, but it does mean that he might be testing out the waters and coming to visit an important constituency in the middle of the state in one of the population centers and see what kind of reception he gets."
While it's early in a campaign cycle, Hoffman notes Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio visited the state in November.
University of Iowa Political Science Professor Cary Covington says it is not unusual for Walker to visit a neighboring state. Covington says other moves would be more tell-tale.
"Does he form a Super PAC? Does he do fundraising? Does he collect money and distribute it to local Republican candidates in Iowa? That's always a favorite way to curry favor in Iowa, so those are the things you'll be watching for."
Walker says he is focused on being Governor; he is up for reelection in 2014. Democrats are drawing attention to his national ambitions, arguing the Governor is making decisions to benefit his own career and not the people of Wisconsin.