Campaigns seek to poach Walker donors, staff
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Now that Scott Walker has quit the presidential race, a new race has begun: to recruit his millionaire and billionaire donors who have already put at least $20 million into the pro-Walker super-PAC Unintimidated.
 
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Conversations with two major Walker donors suggests that they, and perhaps others, are going to wait a while before deciding which candidate they want to help fund.
 
The most sought-after prizes for Republican candidates still in the race will be Nebraska billionaires Joe and Marlene Ricketts, who had already given Walker's super-PAC at least $5 million, and Wisconsin roofing billionaire Diane Hendricks, who gave Walker's Unintimidated PAC a $5 million. 
 
The Ricketts family has already sent $10,000 apiece to super-PACs supporting former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads What the gun safety debate says about Washington Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China MORE and Sen. Lindsey Graham, according to the mid-year Federal Election Commission reports. Perry dropped out of the race earlier in September; it is not yet clear who their second choice is behind Walker.
 
Stanley Hubbard, a Minnesota billionaire who has already given $50,000 to Walker's super-PAC, said he and his wife would now put their money behind one of four people: former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Rubio, Christie or former neurosurgeon Ben Carson. 
 
"But we are not going to be jumping right into another super-PAC," Hubbard said. "We're going to wait and see what happens."
 
Another of Walker's super-PAC donors said he wanted to support a candidate that had Walker's record of being "fiscally conservative" but was not extreme on social issues. The donor said he could not believe it when he heard outsider candidate Carson say on Sunday's "Meet the Press" program that he would not advocate having a Muslim president.
 
"That's really out there on the fringe," the donor said. But he said he wanted to wait and see "how things shake out" before deciding which candidate to invest in.
 
Austin Barbour understands the situation Walker's supporters face. He was a senior adviser for the super-PACs supporting Perry. The pro-Perry independent groups had attracted major Texas money and had some $13 million in the bank when the former governor quit the race on the afternoon of Sep. 11.
 
Barbour, who knows the U.S. political fundraising landscape as well as any GOP operative, said he thinks Walker's big donors will be "divided up" but may sit on the sidelines a while before committing to anybody.
 
"I think they are going to get split up between Jeb, Rubio, Carly, some to Christie and [Ohio Gov. John] Kasich," Barbour said Monday. "They'll be divided ... but I'm sure most of them will go to that list."
 
Regarding the Perry donors who are now looking for new candidates to support, Barbour said most were "keeping their powder dry" and may wait weeks or even months before finally deciding who to support with all their resources.
 
"The ones that I have talked to, they want to wait and see. They like Rubio, Bush and Carly," Barbour added. "They are going to wait and see but those are the names I hear most often."
 
Walker's exit from the race "really is amazing" but in many ways reminds Barbour of what happened to Perry.
 
"Here's what the reality is for a campaign," Barbour said. "What the Walker campaign saw was three or four weeks, at least three weeks, of bad news reports of Governor Walker having to let go of staff.
 
"Think about how bad that story would have been."
 
The Walker campaign could have "hunkered down" in Iowa but the combination of sustained bad news reports, plunging polls and perhaps problems with the campaign's bank account — revealed for all to see in the next quarterly results unveiled on Oct. 15 — would have been a difficult set of circumstances to overcome, he said.
 
While donors look at other campaigns, those campaigns are looking at who they can recruit from Walker's organization.
 
Richard Graber, the former Wisconsin GOP chairman, aligned himself with Bush soon after Walker's announcement, aides confirmed.
 
Terry Sullivan, the campaign manager for Rubio presidential bid, said Monday that Walker's New Hampshire co-chairman will switch his endorsement to Rubio, which the campaign later confirmed is former state party vice chairman Cliff Hurst. 
 
"We are prepared as people move on in the race to capitalize on that," he said at an event in Washington for presidential campaign managers. He did not clarify which of the three Walker New Hampshire co-chairmen was switching over.
 
Rubio is picking up more support as well.

Drew Johnson, South Carolina executive committeeman from Chester County, who was an early supporter of Walker, said in a statement Monday evening that he will now support Rubio. 

“After great thought, I’ve decided to support Marco Rubio for President. Marco has a positive vision for a New American Century and he is the candidate who gives our party the best opportunity to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Marco has my complete support and I look forward to helping him win South Carolina’s primary in February.”
 
Rubio also picked up three of Walker’s Iowa county chairmen and two members of his leadership team in the Hawkeye State.

The Rubio campaign said late Monday that Lee County Chairwoman Melody Slater, Dubuque County Chairman Matt Geise, Sac County Chairman Caleb Hedeen, Muscataine County leader Alan Ostergren and Iowa Students for Walker Co-Chairwoman Brittany Gaura have all moved over to Rubio.
 
—Updated at 10:43 p.m.