Ooo, I believe, fate, fate smiled
And destiny laughed as she came to my cradle
Know this child will be able
Laughed as she came to my mother
Know this child will not suffer
Laughed as my body she lifted
Know this child will be gifted
With love, with patience and with faith
She’ll make her way, she’ll make her way
-Natalie Merchant, Wonder
Governor Scott Walker had a political announcement of sorts on Friday. His son, Matt Walker, may be interested in seeking the Republican nomination for Congress in Wisconsin’s Fifth District. Walker said it during an interview with Adrienne Pederson on UpFront, which will air on Sunday, and in a post on Twitter.
(By the way, we’ll assume any candidates not mentioned by Walker was not an intentional snub. He just ran out of space after squeezing in a shot at Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.)
Matt Walker, 25, is the co-founder of Platform Digital, a web services company. (Full disclosure, RightWisconsin is currently hosted by Platform Digital.) On Saturday, the younger Walker confirmed that he is thinking of running in a Facebook post.
Our country needs leaders that understand the transformative impact of technology on our culture, businesses, and government. Social media and giant tech are critical to our public discourse but require new solutions to combat disinformation and extremism. Our regulation of businesses and trade must continue to be modernized to advance an ever-expanding digital economy. Now is the time for our government institutions to embrace technology to better serve constituents.
I am exploring this potential campaign because there are plenty of Republicans, myself included, that will stand for lower taxes and higher standards, yet I am uniquely positioned to provide a fresh perspective on the 21st-century problems facing our nation.
The seat is currently held by Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner who announced on Wednesday he is not running for re-election. There are, as former Governor Walker notes, a likely plethora of conservative choices in the Republican primary for this seat. Among those that are seriously considering a run: Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, former state Sen. Leah Vukmir (the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018), state Senators Dale Kooyenga & Chris Kapenga, state Rep. Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee), former U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson, former state Sen. Rich Zipperer (currently Steil’s chief of staff), as well as a few others rumored to be considering entering the race.
In other words, there is not exactly a crying need for a candidate with a prominent name in this very conservative district.
If Matt Walker were to run, he would not be the only young GOP politician to attempt to make the jump to a higher office without previously serving in the state legislature. Nicholson attempted to parlay his military and business experience into U.S. Senate seat in 2018, only to be defeated by the more politically experienced Vukmir. One of the criticisms of Nicholson is that many in the GOP had no recollection of him doing anything for the state Republican Party between his somewhat-obscured conversion from the Democratic Party to his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Nicholson’s project, No Better Friend, has been described as an effort to correct that deficiency in his résumé while keeping him visible as a possible future candidate for public office.
Democrats are not immune from this disease, too. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is attempting to make the leap to President of the United States without holding any office in between.
Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke is trying to make a similar leap from being a fail U.S. Senate candidate to president (as well as from being Irish to being Hispanic). O’Rourke, like Nicholson, even switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party to run for office. O’Rourke, however, switched back.
In making the case for Walker the Younger, Walker the Elder mentioned possibly the worst example of someone leaping to national prominence before they were ready, Ocasio-Cortez. I’m not sure comparing the younger Walker to the Democratic example that bad things can happen in multi-candidate primaries will actually help.
As for the need of some voice of the next generation, when the next generation has actually lived life for a while then perhaps we should listen to it. There is no special wisdom from being young. Quite the contrary.
On the other hand, I’m old enough to remember another young man who had a bright political future in front of him. Matt Walker’s father ran for the Assembly, lost, ran again, won, waited for an opportunity, became county executive, ran for governor and withdrew, finally became governor, and eventually became a national political figure and was a serious candidate for the GOP nomination for president. Scott Walker did all of this before he was 50 and he still has a possible political career in front of him.
The impatience of youth is well-known. Matt Walker is a bright, capable young man and most districts would be well-represented by someone like him. However, given the example of his father, perhaps someone should ask Walker, “What’s the hurry?”
There is so much more to life than just being a prominent member of a political family, so much more to accomplish. Almost all of us on the Republican side would love to see either of the Walker children follow in their father’s footsteps. There will be other opportunities for Walker when he will have more to claim on his résumé than a famous name.