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Scott Walker Takes Center Stage

Wisconsin's governor needed to score at the Iowa Freedom Summit, and he just might have pulled it off.
Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, waves to the crowd during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015.

Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, waves to the crowd during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

DES MOINES, Iowa—One by one, close to a dozen Republicans openly exploring 2016 presidential bids strode onto the stage of a historic theater on Saturday, all with questions facing their viability. Scott Walker may have taken the biggest step forward.

The Wisconsin governor has always appeared to be a potentially strong candidate, at least on paper. One of the unknowns has been whether he could light up a room on the presidential trail. He started to put to rest that question with a confident, warmly received speech at a gathering of social conservatives in Iowa, where the presidential nominating process will begin in just more than a year.