Walker to conservatives: Don't give up

Scott Walker on Thursday made no attempt to mask his disapproval of the Republican presidential race being dominated by New York businessman Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSanders's Nevada director floated two-sided coins for tiebreaks: report Trump hires ex-Cruz aide as communications director GOP senator on Trump’s VP hunt: 'I know nothing’ MORE.

"No matter what's happening there, the conservative movement is alive and well in states all across America," the Wisconsin governor insisted during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md.

"No matter what you think about what's happening in the presidential election, you can't give up," Walker said later in his speech. "We need your help in the states."

"We need your help now more than ever," he added without mentioning Trump by name during his comments. The businessman is slated to address the conference Saturday.

Walker's return to the annual conservative gathering lacked much of the energy he brought a year ago, when he was a rising GOP figure and early front-runner in the 2016 Republican presidential field.

Since then, a dozen candidates, including Walker, have been forced from a race as Trump has bulldozed through expectations toward the cusp of capturing the GOP nomination.

Walker, who left the race last September with a call for the remaining candidates to unite to take down Trump, acknowledged that some Republicans may be "confused" and "upset" in the coming days, but he sought to encourage conservatives to stay active in state-level politics. 

Walker mentioned Republicans' opportunity in November to pick up five governorships currently held by Democrats, including one in the "home state of Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders's Nevada director floated two-sided coins for tiebreaks: report Overnight Finance: McConnell tees up Puerto Rico vote | Britain's credit rating slashed | Clinton vows to appoint trade prosecutor The Trail 2016: Warren takes VP batting practice MORE," referring to Vermont.

He also pointed to efforts in his own state to defund Planned Parenthood, pass pro-gun legislation and require a photo ID to vote, saying, "Good policy is good politics." 

"We are making a difference, we are connecting the dots," Walker said, urging conservatives to "go forth and sing."

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