- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2016

In his first appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference since entering — and leaving — the 2016 GOP presidential race, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker kicked off CPAC Thursday morning by touting the work of his fellow Republican governors and telling conservatives their movement is strong in states throughout the country.

“Some of you might be confused — dare I say, even some upset — about what’s happening in the presidential election, but I want to offer you some enthusiasm, some optimism today, and tell you no matter what’s happening there, the conservative movement is alive and well in states all across America,” he said at the annual conference at the National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Mr. Walker, the vice chair of the Republican Governors Association, touted Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s win last year and said voters need to keep Republican governors such as Mike Pence in Indiana and Pat McCrory in North Carolina in office to keep up their recent gains.

He said the GOP even has a chance to elect a Republican governor “in the home state of Bernie Sanders.”

Mr. Walker also talked up his own conservative reforms and the fact that he didn’t have to run to the middle to win in a blue state. He was first elected in 2010 before surviving a recall vote in 2012 and winning re-election in 2014.

“We won each of those three elections in a state that hadn’t gone Republican for president since Ronald Reagan was last on the ballot in 1984,” Mr. Walker said. “We won not because we ran to the middle but rather because we laid out a clear, common-sense conservative plan to tackle the economic and fiscal crisis that our state faced.”

Mr. Walker also touted other conservative wins in his home state on right-to-work legislation, defunding Planned Parenthood, and voter ID legislation.

Mr. Walker’s presidential stock was on the rise at this time last year when he addressed CPAC, and he finished second to Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky in the 2015 CPAC presidential preference straw poll. He ended up jumping into the 2016 race last July but dropped out about two months later in September.

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