Des Moines, Iowa (CBS DC) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is opening the first Iowa office among the potential 2016 Republican contenders for the presidency.
Walker, who has led all other GOP presidential aspirants in recent polls, leased the space at 2775 86th St. in Urbandale, the Des Moines Register reports. The office building has a lengthy political history with Republican candidates – although Walker hasn’t officially tossed his hat in the ring for the 2016 election.
Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses are tentatively expected to be held on Feb. 1, 2016 and are crucially important for presidential campaigns looking to establish a national presence.
The strip-mall location leased out by Walker is the first space to be established in Iowa by any potential candidate and has links to past GOP campaigns including Michelle Bachmann’s 2012 team, Mitt Romney’s general election crew and John McCain, Sarah Palin’s Midwest regional campaign headquarters in 2008, according to the Register.
Politico reports that Walker has compiled an email list of 300,000 small donors from 50 states.
Walker was raised in Iowa for seven years before his father moved the family to neighboring Wisconsin.
Two draft movements do already have Iowa offices. Supporters of Republican former neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have spaces. “Ready for Hillary” activists don’t have an Iowa office, but they have organized a local presence for supporters of the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Several polls have shown that Walker stands ahead of other potential Republican candidates for president.
A Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll conducted from January 26-29, showed Walker leading the field with 15 percent, up from only 4 percent in October. A New Hampshire survey found that Walker has the backing of 21.2 percent of those who are likely to vote in next year’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was in second place with 14.4 percent.
Walker also racked up 44 percent of a Drudge Report poll, with the next two candidates of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul only gathering a respective 13 and 12 percent.