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The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

August 28, 2012 at 1:14 PM

GOP governors association leader compares Rob McKenna to Scott Walker

TAMPA – Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna has taken pains to distance himself from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his battles with public employee unions.

But the head of the Republican Governors Association told Washington’s delegates to the Republican National Convention that McKenna would be a leader similar to Walker.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, chairman of the RGA, spoke at a breakfast for the Washington and Montana delegations, touting Republican gubernatorial candidate McKenna, along with Montana contender Rick Hill, as top-tier contenders in 2012.

McDonnell lavishly praised Walker as a model of leadership.

“He represents what governing is all about. You look people in the eye, you have the courage to tell them the truth about what you can and can’t afford, about what policies you have to put in place… and then you get elected and you actually do it,” McDonnell said.

“And then when people resist because they have a left-wing view of the world, you say we’re going to stay they course, I promise you we do this we’ll get results,” he said, noting Walker’s victory in a recall election.

“They balanced the budget without raising taxes, jobs are coming back to Wisconsin, they had their first property tax cut in 30 years, Wisconsin’s back open for business,” McDonnell said.

“That’s what Scott Walked did in Wisconsin, and that’s what Rick Hill and Rob McKenna are going to do in their states as well,” he said.

Comparisons with Walker are not something McKenna has welcomed. He has criticized Walker for an overly aggressive stance in attacking collective bargaining rights of state workers. McKenna has said he would not do the same in Washington, but would try to drive a harder bargain with unions if elected.

Walker himself was supposed to be a speaker at the breakfast but cancelled at the last minute due to scheduling conflicts.

0 Comments | More in Governor, Politics Northwest | Topics: convention, Gov. Bob McDonnell, Republican National Convention

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