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A Scott Walker aide had tough talk for Iowa. You'll totally believe what happened next.

Scott Walker eyes an Iowan in fear at the Iowa Freedom Summit, an event his former aide said was "embarrassing" the GOP.
Scott Walker eyes an Iowan in fear at the Iowa Freedom Summit, an event his former aide said was "embarrassing" the GOP.
Scott Olson / Getty
Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.
  1. Liz Mair, a newly hired aide to Scott Walker's campaign-in-waiting, has resigned due to controversy over tweets she sent criticizing Iowa, Catherine Lucey and Steve Peoples of the Associated Press report.
  2. Mair, a prolific tweeter who is well-liked among web-savvy conservatives, had, among other things, criticized Iowa's prominent role in the presidential nomination process, writing, "The sooner we remove Iowa's frontrunning status, the better off American politics and policy will be."
  3. When her tweets were circulated Tuesday, Iowa's state Republican Party chair said Mair was "shallow and ignorant," and called for Walker to "send her her walking papers," Trip Gabriel of the New York Times reported. The party's co-chair called her remarks "absolutely disgusting and repulsive."
  4. Late on Tuesday, Mair resigned, saying, "The tone of some of my tweets concerning Iowa was at odds with that which Gov. Walker has always encouraged in political discourse."

GOP presidential hopefuls still have to kiss Iowa's ring

Here are the tweets that cost Mair her job. (The first two refer to an Iowa event for prospective presidential candidates hosted by Rep. Steve King [R-IA], known for his anti-unauthorized immigration views):

Mair tweeted Wednesday morning that "morons" and "brainless" were not meant to refer to the state's voters. But she stood by her criticism of King. (The conservative site Breitbart had also criticized Walker for hiring Mair over her immigration views.)

There's much speculation that Mair's resignation wasn't entirely voluntary. The Iowa caucuses are important for all GOP presidential hopefuls — but especially so for Scott Walker. He governs neighboring Wisconsin, and GOP caucus participants have recently tended to favor more conservative candidates rather than establishment favorites like Jeb Bush, so Walker's team hopes a win in Iowa will elevate him above other conservative challengers to the front-runner.

Though Walker's move may have helped him in Iowa, he's now facing a backlash from some conservative activists who know and like Mair. Before Mair's firing, Erick Erickson of Redstate wrote, "I think an early test for Scott Walker is going to be if he is willing to stand up to the sound and fury of people outraged by a staffer's tweet in the way he stood up to union activists. He should stand up here and keep Liz Mair." After it, Erickson wrote the firing "plays into the 'not ready for prime time' theme already developing around Walker."

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