Walker announces 2016 White House bid

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced his bid Monday for the Republican presidential nomination, entering a crowded 2016 field amid high expectations.

Walker, known for his high-profile battles with the powerful public-sector unions, announced his plans on social media and in a fundraising email. He becomes the 15th Republican candidate.

In his email to supporters, Walker pointed to his record in Wisconsin as a potential model, saying “it’s time to take the successes we have created in Wisconsin and apply them to Washington.”

Walker, set to kick off his campaign at a rally in Waukesha, Wis., later Monday,

Walker enacted policies weakening the unions’ political power and became the first governor in U.S. history to defeat a recall election.

He also cut income and corporate taxes by nearly $2 billion, lowered property taxes, legalized the carrying of concealed weapons, made abortions more difficult to obtain, required photo identification when voting and made Wisconsin a right-to-work state. His budget this year, which plugged a $2.2 billion shortfall when he signed it into law Sunday, requires drug screenings for public benefit recipients, expands the private school voucher program, freezes tuition at the University of Wisconsin while cutting funding by $250 million and removing tenure protections from state law.

Such achievements may appeal to conservatives who hold outsized sway in Republican primaries, yet some could create challenges in a general election should Walker ultimately become the GOP’s nominee. Voter ID laws, abortion restrictions, liberal gun policies and education cuts are not necessarily popular among swing-state independents.

The two-term Wisconsin governor has been near the top of polls since the start of the election cycle.

Walker has nearly 11 percent of the vote, trailing front-running Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, who has roughly 16 percent, in the most recent averaging of polls by the nonpartisan website RealClearPolitics.com.

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