Wichita Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, known for pushing a controversial law that effectively ended collective bargaining for most of his state’s public workers, has canceled plans to attend an upcoming Republican fundraiser in Kansas.
Walker had been scheduled to appear with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and other Republican leaders at a Tuesday luncheon in Wichita, the Sedgwick County Republican Party’s website said. Tickets cost $1,000 to $15,000.
Nicole Larson, spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Republican Party, however, told The Wichita Eagle in an email that Walker “will no longer be appearing.”
Larson did not explain why Walker canceled the appearance.
The Republican governor is the subject of a recall effort organized by opponents of his union rights bill. Democrats and union leaders have said they will kick off a petition drive Tuesday to collect the more than 540,000 signatures needed to force a recall election.
Jake Lowen, political director for the Wichita/Hutchinson Labor Federation, said planned protests of Walker’s appearance may have influenced his decision to withdraw. He said protest organizers had support from all over the state because people feared Walker could use money raised in Kansas to fight the recall effort.
“To us, this event was symbolic of Scott Walker and people in his camp literally bringing his plan of attack to Wichita,” Lowen said.
But Terry Forsyth, chair of the Kansas Working Alliance, which worked with the labor federation to plan the protest, said other factors may have played a role in Walker’s decision not to come to Wichita, including the results of elections last week around the country and the upcoming recall petition drive in Wisconsin. Still, he said he’s pleased Walker won’t be showing up.