By TEDDY DAVIS, ABC News
Wisconsin Republicans have yet to nominate a candidate for governor. Indeed, theÂ state’s primary is not until Sept. 14. But two national GOP heavyweights — formerÂ Florida Gov.Â Jeb Bushand former House SpeakerÂ Newt Gingrich — are bullish on the prospects of Scott Walker, the self-described, brown-bag-packing county executive ofÂ Milwaukee.
“The guy is a fantastic candidate,”Â Bush said. “The event that we did together, he gave a stump speech that sounded like it was the last three days of the campaign. I mean, he was on fire. It was, it was, he’s the real deal.”
The Wisconsin governor’s race is one of the 2010 contests that could have implications in the 2012Â White House race. Much more so than senators, governors tend to command the kind of stateÂ political machinery that can make a difference in a presidential contest.
AlthoughÂ President Obama carried the state by 14 points overÂ John McCain in 2008, the state was a major battleground in 2004 whenÂ John Kerry won the state by 1 percent and in 2000 whenAl GoreÂ carried the state by less than 1 percent, a mere 5,708 votes.
Walker, 42, has put anecdotes about his personal frugality at the center of his campaign. In all his campaign messaging, he touts himself as someone who “drives a 1998 Saturn with 100,000 miles on it” and who “packs the same brown-bag lunch before heading to the office to save money: two ham and cheese sandwiches on wheat with mayo.”
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