Six weeks after suspending his presidential campaign, Scott Walker made one more plea for money Friday morning, asking his supporters to help him pay off his campaign debt.
"[A]s things changed dramatically in the presidential race, 'Walker for America' incurred a campaign debt and it is my hope that you and all of our supporters will chip in and make an online contribution," Walker wrote in an e-mail to supporters. "It is a lot to ask, I know, but we feel personally obligated to make sure that every small business that extended us their good faith and credit is repaid."
Walker wrote that he wants to "end our presidential race on a positive note with all of the bills paid" and asked for donations ranging from $25 to $1,000 to "erase every penny of outstanding debt from our campaign together."
Walker's campaign quickly burned through money during his 70-day campaign, spending more than $90,000 per day. According to the campaign's latest federal paperwork, Walker raised nearly $7.4 million between July 1 and Sept. 30, spent nearly $6.4 million and had bills for $161,133. Walker maintained a large payroll of more than 80 and generous paychecks for top staffers, even as fundraising dried up. Walker's campaign was known for paying more than many of its rivals, and at least 20 employees were paid at least $30,000 in less than three months -- which over a year would total at least $120,000. Five employees earned more than $50,000 in salary and benefits during that three-month period, which would have totaled $200,000 over a year.
When Walker dropped out of the race, the campaign had nearly $1 million left, although that money was expected to go toward paying ongoing contracts, leases and other expenses that can continue even when a campaign stops. Those close to the campaign estimate he had a debt of roughly $700,000.
Walker wrote in his e-mail to supporters that although he is "disappointed" with the outcome of his race, "there are always new ways to serve others and plenty of conservative reforms to enact in Wisconsin." He added that he was grateful for his "tremendous grassroots team of supporters."
"For a kid who grew up in small-town America, whose family didn't have a lot of money, the opportunity to run for President of the United States is an experience beyond my wildest dreams and an experience I will never forget," Walker wrote. Later in the e-mail, he added: "When God closes one door, another one opens. While I don't know exactly what the future holds, trust me, we will continue leading the fight for big, bold, conservative change in Wisconsin and across America."