Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker withdrew from the race for Wisconsin governor Friday, citing a lack of campaign funding and resources.
The former candidate announced he will now lend his support to fellow Republican Party member, gubernatorial hopeful U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Wis., in an effort to defeat Democratic incumbent Gov. Jim Doyle.
"In the end, I love this state too much to see Jim Doyle elected to another term," Walker said in a release. "This decision is made with the best interests of the people of Wisconsin in mind."
A unified Republican stand is needed to defeat Doyle and his massive war chest, Walker said, adding the incumbent is "wrong for Wisconsin."
The Green campaign agreed, calling Walker's decision a surprise but also proof of his dedication to Wisconsin citizens.
"The Republican Party in Wisconsin is now firmly united behind Mark Green and committed to beating Jim Doyle in November," Green's press secretary Rob Vernon said, adding Walker's decision to withdraw gives Green a better shot at ousting Doyle.
As Republicans view Friday's announcement as promising for Green and the GOP, some Democrats said they are not necessarily disappointed with the decision either.
According to Brian Shactman, chair of the University of Wisconsin College Democrats, Walker's withdrawal points to weaknesses within the Republican Party.
"Any time a candidate drops out of the race because he doesn't think he can win, that's not a good sign for the political party," he said. "I think it just shows how strong of a position Jim Doyle is in right now."
Republicans, however, continue to point to the newly strengthened Green campaign as a key turning point in the gubernatorial race, as Doyle opponents can now work in a single consolidated effort.
"I actually think it's very good for the Republican Party," UW College Republicans Chair Jordan Smith said. "Now we won't have a divisive primary in September with resources from Scott Walker's campaign and resources from Mark Green's campaign being used to fight each other."
Prior to Walker's decision to drop out, she added, Republicans would have been working counterproductively to defeat each other.
But Shactman offered a different perspective, saying Republican resources will now have to be applied further to a renewed obstacle.
"Now the race becomes about Jim Doyle's record versus Mark Green's record," he said. "I think Wisconsin voters are going to take in turn a sharper eye toward Mark Green and realize he is the wrong choice for Wisconsin citizens and their families."
Green's record could prove harmful to his gubernatorial chances, Shactman added, referring to controversy surrounding Green's involvement with the 2002 Legislative Caucus Scandal, during which Green served as the Caucus Chair of the Assembly Republicans. Five Wisconsin lawmakers and one legislative aide connected with the scandal were recently convicted for misusing their public offices to raise campaign funds.
The gubernatorial race will reach a conclusion Nov. 7, when Wisconsin voters will go to the polls to choose between Doyle and Green.